Facebook’s parent company Meta has been paying a Republican consulting firm to help create a nationwide campaign against TikTok, The Washington Post exclusively reported Wednesday.
Details: Meta has been paying the firm Targeted Victory to hit TikTok, which is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, per The Washington Post.
- The campaign reportedly includes op-eds and letters to the editor in major news outlets that spread doubt over TikTok trends that actually began on Facebook.
- There’s also been a push to seek help from reporters and politicians in taking down TikTok.
- Much of the campaign has focused on spreading the message that TikTok is “a danger to American children and society,” per The Washington Post.
Why it matters: “These bare-knuckle tactics, long commonplace in the world of politics, have become increasingly noticeable within a tech industry where companies vie for cultural relevance and come at a time when Facebook is under pressure to win back young users,” according to The Washington Post.
The response: Meta spokesperson Andy Stone defended the campaign, telling The Washington Post, “We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success.”
The bigger picture: Facebook and TikTok have been competitors in recent years. As TikTok soared in popularity, Meta added the new Reels feature to Instagram and Facebook, looking to compete directly with the video app.
- Things took a turn earlier in March when Facebook added its own TikTok account.
- Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear he knows about TikTok’s strength.
What he said: “People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly,” Zuckerberg said, per TechCrunch.
- “TikTok is so big as a competitor already and also continues to grow at quite a faster rate off of a very large base.”