After laying virtually dormant since its creation in 2015, Triller remerged from relative obscurity when talks of a TikTok ban started making headlines. In late July, TikTok stars best-known for belonging to Sway House announced they were migrating over to Triller. That same week, Triller sued TikTok for copyright infringement. Soon after, it pushed TikTok out of the top position in the App Store’s top ten list. So it almost makes sense that President Donald Trump, TikTok's top antagonist, joined Triller over the weekend.
On Saturday, it was announced that Trump is extending the 45-day deadline he initially gave Bytedance to sell TikTok to a U.S.-based company. TikTok now has 90 days. But that didn't stop the Trump campaign from joining the competitor. So far, the president's verified account only has about 13,000 followers and four Trillers, the most popular of which has nearly ten million views.
It goes a little like this: Sizzle reel of the Commander in Chief saying "I'm a professional at technology" with a banner urging viewers to text TRUMP to 88022, while Triller-branded graphics and squiggly lines zoom over footage of Trump. It's kind of a cross between a Matthew McConaughey whiskey ad and a Matthew McConaughey car commercial, only the big block letters in this video are telling you to "Follow @DonaldJTrump on Triller."
It's worth noting that Triller has long centred and been dominated by Black artists and creators. Currently, the app's landing page has a #BLM highlight. Yet, this is where Trump seeks to build his short-form video platform.
TikTok has long been a sparring grounds for liberal teens and Trump-supporting youths to duke it out — from dramatised videos about Christian persecution set to Kesha's Take It Off to bouncy young women barking out "facts" and serving the "libs." But if the Sway House boys' departure can teach us anything, it's that those who feel unwelcome on TikTok now have options. Long-term, however, this might signal a new normal where opposing ideologies don't just live in different spheres within a platform, but can now grow and operate on entirely separate platforms.