Facebook resorts to old defamation tactics against TikTok

Eleven years ago, Facebook was caught red-handed after it hired a prominent PR firm to try to plant stories…

Eleven years ago, Facebook was caught in the act after it hired a prominent PR firm to try to spread stories sharply criticizing Google’s privacy practices in leading news outlets.

In 2018, it hired PR firm Definers to conduct opposition research into the company’s critics, including billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Elliot Schrage, the company’s longtime head of communications, took the blame for approving the hiring of Definers and similar companies and left Facebook.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Facebook’s parent company Meta is using similar tactics to go after another rival TikTok. Meta, the Post reported, hired a Republican consulting firm called Targeted Victory to “run a nationwide campaign” against TikTok.

Targeted Victory, according to the Post, has contracted with dozens of public relations firms in the US to “help public opinion against TikTok” by posting local news stories and posting opinions targeting TikTok across the country, it says. the story.

Meta confirmed it has hired Targeted Victory.

“We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should be critically reviewed in line with their growing success,” spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement.

Zac Moffatt, the CEO of Targeted Victory, said the company “manages bipartisan teams on behalf of our clients.”

“It is well known that we have been working with Meta for several years and we are proud of the work we have done,” he said in a statement.

The Post received internal emails from Targeted Victory outlining a campaign to undermine TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The company used a mix of “genuine concerns and unfounded fears” about TikTok to try to counter public and political sentiment.

According to the report, Targeted Victory was also working to get “proactive coverage” about Facebook in the local media, including “submitting letters and op-eds that spoke glowingly about Facebook’s role in, for example, supporting black businesses.”

“We are very concerned that fueling local media reports about alleged trends not found on the platform could cause real-world harm,” TikTok said in an emailed statement.

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