That’s not going to improve Meta’s reputation: a Washington Post article claims the company is funding a smear campaign against TikTok in the United States. This would have gone through the publication of incriminating texts in certain regional newspapers, or even through the highlighting of dangerous TikTok trends.
The newspaper claims to have seen emails from the Republican agency Targeted Victory that prove that Meta did fund a US-wide lobbying campaign. A director writes that it is ” getting the message across that if Meta is the punching bag of the moment, TikTok is the real threat, especially as the #1 foreign app that shares young teens’ data “.
The agency signed a contract with dozens of communications companies across the United States, which then targeted local media. ” The dream would be to get stories with titles like “Danger Dances: How TikTok Became the Most Harmful Social Network for Kids” », Explains an employee of Targeted Victory. Opinion columns have therefore been published in the newspapers: the Washington Post, for example, claims that this agency is hiding behind this testimony published in the Denver Post. Several similar testimonies were published at the same time.
As a young parent, I was happy to see Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser join a multi-state TikTok investigation. I am very concerned about the way TikTok treats its young users. It’s time we took a serious look at the impact of TikTok on their mental health.
The company has proven to have little or no regard for the use of our children’s data. Many people even suspect that China is deliberately collecting behavioral data on our children (both the Chinese government and TikTok deny that they share data). We should all be alarmed at the serious consequences of these privacy issues.
But that’s not all: Targeted Victory would also have made sure to point the finger at certain harmful “modes” and other dangerous TikTok challenges, a compilation of which was shared internally. Some stories have been pushed into regional dailies to give the Chinese app a bad name. A cheeky move, because a survey has shown that some of these challenges first emerged on… Facebook.
While this overarching strategy is meant to sink TikTok, it also seeks to distract public attention from Meta’s woes. For some time now, the company’s popularity has been at an all-time low. A whistleblower has released numerous compromising confidential documents, including revealing that Meta is well aware that Instagram is bad for the mental health of teenagers. It has also been revealed that some celebrity accounts have light moderation, while the firm has deliberately removed filters against false information.
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg’s black week
Conversely, TikTok continues to impose itself against Mark Zuckerberg’s platforms in decline. The whistleblower’s reports specified that according to research by Meta, young people spent two to three times more time on TikTok than on Instagram. In February, Facebook recorded the first drop in users in its history, while some emails were reportedly sent to Targeted Victory soon after.
In response to TikTok, Facebook has also launched a short video format: Reels. It is a key investment for Mark Zuckerberg, and the Reels have been greatly promoted on the group’s platforms. This strategy is working, as the format accounted for 11 of the 20 most viewed posts on Facebook in the last quarter of 2021.