October 4, 2022

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Facebook’s plan to discredit TikTok in the US

According to a recent investigation conducted by Washington Post In recent months, Meta, the company that controls social networks Facebook and Instagram, had paid a US consulting firm close to the Republican Party to discredit TikTok, a rival social network owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

The Washington Post He wrote that he had obtained a series of emails explaining how the consulting firm Targeted Victory would have tried in various ways to damage TikTok’s public image, for example by lobbying several US newspapers to write stories telling the alleged bad influence that TikTok had on young people. All these operations were to be carried out on the orders of Meta.

Targeted Victory is a consulting firm founded by Zack Moffat, who was the digital director of Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012. Some of his main income comes from the Republican Party, and among its largest shareholders is a committee close to former US President Donald Trump.

At Facebook’s request, Targeted Victory will contact dozens of media companies and press offices to promote the campaign against TikTok and, in some cases, persuade local politicians, even Democrats, and other influential people to publish editorials in newspapers to shed light on it. . An email sent by Targeted Victory to a US newspaper reads: “The ideal would be to have stories with headlines like ‘From Dance to Danger: How TikTok Became the Most Injurious Social Media for Children’.”

A plan to discredit TikTok was included in a Google document titled “Bad TikTok Clips”, see it Washington Post, which included links to videos that would lead to harmful trends among American teens. The document, for example, claimed that a so-called “sham licking challenge” would be generated from some TikTok videos, a challenge that called on young students to vandalize and recover from their schools.

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News of the spread of this challenge was picked up by many US media outlets, and even Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal, asked TikTok to testify in the Senate to explain his position on the matter. In fact, the challenge was born on Facebook and not on TikTok, as an investigation by American podcast.

In October, Targeted Victory will try to spread the word about another challenge, the “Teacher Slap Challenge,” in which students had to slap the teacher and post the video to TikTok. In this case, the news was not only published on Facebook and not on TikTok, but it was discovered Such a challenge has never existed There were no case reports regarding it.

The Washington Post He didn’t say when this campaign would start, only specifying that one of the last emails he could read the content of was in February, when announce For the first time in its history it lost users. Among other things, on that occasion, investors judged Facebook’s poor results as a symptom of the social network’s inability to attract new users, especially young people moving to other platforms, such as TikTok.

The loss of young users of TikTok is not a new topic, and Facebook has been talking about it for some time. This problem was first revealed last year in internal documents released by whistleblower The former employee Frances Hoganthe so-called “facebook papersIt was talked about as one of the main problems the social network will have to face in the future to try to keep up with the competition.

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