Meta Hired GOP Consulting Firm To Badmouth TikTok In Media: Report

Zinger Key Points
  • Campaign tried to paint TikTok as threat to young users' well-being
  • Meta was unapologetic when confronted with the story
Meta Hired GOP Consulting Firm To Badmouth TikTok In Media: Report

Meta Platforms FB has reportedly paid a Republican consulting group to operate a campaign against TikTok that depicted the social media video platform as being a threat to young people.

What Happened: The parent company of Facebook and Instagram hired Targeted Victory, a consultancy that promoted itself as being at the “intersection of politics and business,” to target the U.S. mainstream media with a series of op-ed columns and letters to the editor highlighting what it claimed to be harmful trends supposedly started on TikTok that could result in physical injury and mental health problems among young viewers, according to a Washington Post report.

In reality, many of the trends that were supposedly rooted on TikTok began on Facebook.

The Post also obtained internal e-mails related to the campaign’s planning, with a Targeted Victory director stressing the need to "get the message out that while Meta is the current punching bag, TikTok is the real threat especially as a foreign owned app that is #1 in sharing data that young teens are using."

Meta’s social media platforms were not mentioned in comparison to TikTok, although the consulting group also sought to generate more positive coverage for the company, including a focus on its support for Black-owned businesses.

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Why It Happened: Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg targeted TikTok as one of the key reasons why his platforms have been losing younger users. Facebook and Instagram sought to emulate TikTok's short-form video formats, but with minimal success.

Meta was unapologetic about the news of its media campaign.

“We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success,” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone told the Post.

A TikTok spokesperson was less sanguine, complaining about how its rival was "the stoking of local media reports on alleged trends that have not been found on the platform."

Zac Moffatt, Targeted Victory's CEO, issued a statement that said the company "manages bipartisan teams on behalf of our clients. It is public knowledge we have worked with Meta for several years and we are proud of the work we have done.:

Photo: Kon Zografos/Pixabay

Posted In: FacebookInstagramMark Zuckerbergmedia relationsMeta PlatformsTargeted VictoryTikTokNewsSocial MediaPoliticsTechMediaGeneral