AP

Facebook resorts to old smear tactics against TikTok

Mar 30, 2022, 1:37 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2022, 6:17 pm

Eleven years ago, Facebook was caught red-handed after it hired a prominent public relations firm to try to plant stories harshly criticizing Google’s privacy practices in leading news outlets.

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

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

Targeted Victory, according to the Post, contracted with dozens of public relations firms across the U.S. to help “sway public opinion against TikTok” by planting local news stories and helping place op-eds targeting TikTok around the country, the story says.

Meta confirmed that it has hired Targeted Victory.

“We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success,” spokesman 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 public knowledge we have worked with Meta for several years and we are proud of the work we have done,” he said in a statement.

The Post obtained internal emails from Targeted Victory that outlined a campaign to undermine TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The firm used a mix of “genuine concerns and unfounded anxieties” about TikTok in order to try to turn public and political sentiment against it.

According to the report, Targeted Victory was also working to get “proactive coverage” about Facebook into local media, including “submitting letters and opinion pieces speaking glowingly of Facebook’s role in, for instance, supporting Black-owned businesses.”

“We are deeply concerned that the stoking of local media reports on alleged trends that have not been found on the platform could cause real world harm,” TikTok said in an emailed statement.

___

This story has been corrected to show that the report was Wednesday, not Tuesday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

2 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

3 hours ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

1 day ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

2 days ago

Former President Donald Trump, center, appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023...

Associated Press

Manhattan court searching for jurors to hear first-ever criminal case against a former president

Jury selection is set to start Monday in former President Donald Trump's hush money case — the first trial of the presumptive nominee.

2 days ago

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a  an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of...

Associated Press

1 dead and 13 injured in semitrailer crash at a Texas public safety office, with the driver jailed

A driver rammed an 18-wheeler though the front of a building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Facebook resorts to old smear tactics against TikTok