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During Debate Breaks, TikTok Advertised as GOP Candidates Sparred Over Banning It

Viewers of the GOP presidential debates watched candidates duke it out over whether TikTok should be banned, then saw ads for the app during commercial breaks.

Amid Wednesday night’s debate in Miami, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy clashed with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley over the Chinese-owned app. He’s the only candidate with an account.

“She made fun of me for actually joining TikTok while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time,” Mr. Ramaswamy said. “So you might want to take care of your family first before preaching to anyone else.”

“Leave my daughter out of your voice,” Ms. Haley shot back, also calling him “scum.”

TikTok ads were seen during commercial breaks before and after the argument between the candidates. Coverage of the debate was live on NBC News.

All of the candidates, minus Mr. Ramaswamy, stood against the app.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he would ban the app the first week he was president, calling it spyware.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis agreed with Mr. Christie, saying he’s concerned about how the app gets data from users and what it’s doing to “pollute the minds” of young Americans.

The app’s ads also appeared during the second debate in Simi Valley, California, in September when Fox News was the host.

Ms. Haley lashed out at Mr. Ramaswamy over TikTok in that debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, “Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber.”

That was followed by a TikTok ad.

This year, the White House told federal agencies they had 30 days to remove the app from all government-issued devices, which led to state governments doing the same. In March, President Biden threatened to ban the app if it wasn’t sold to an American company.

This week, Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, calling for a TikTok ban since it’s a threat to “American national security.”

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