In a startling revelation, a report has claimed that Meta (Facebook’s parent company) paid a prominent Republican consulting firm to malign the Chinese short-video-making app TikTok.
According to the report from The Washington Post late on Wednesday, Meta ran a nationwide campaign to sow distrust about one of the company’s top competitors, TikTok.
The firm called Targeted Victory planted opinion pieces and letters to the editor against TikTok in major local and regional newspapers across the country.
Targeted Victory is one of the biggest vendors for Republican campaigns and in 2020, the firm earned over $230 million from groups like the pro-Trump super PAC and America First Action.
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Republicans have been some of TikTok’s harshest critics.
According to the report, a Targeted Victory director told staff that the firm needed 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”.
Facebook has been losing users for quite some time while TikTok’s usage is rising in the US.
Meta’s recent earnings report said that Facebook’s active users dropped by almost 5 lakh at the end of last year.
Meanwhile, the Chinese short-video-making platform is finalizing a deal with Cloud major Oracle to store users’ data in the US without giving access to its Chinese parent company ByteDance.
Last year, the exit of former President Donald Trump from the White House reportedly led Beijing-based ByteDance to walk away from a deal to sell its popular short video-sharing platform TikTok’s US operations to Oracle.