Report had it that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has been engaging the services of one of the most prominent Republican consulting firms to run a nationwide campaign defaming TikTok.
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported exclusively that Facebook has been paying Targeted Victory to depict the China-based company ByteDance as a danger to American children and society, according to internal emails.
“The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor,” The Washington Post said.
Employees with the firm, Targeted Victory, worked to undermine TikTok through a nationwide media and lobbying campaign portraying the fast-growing app as dangerous.
In an email by a director, The Post said Targeted Victory had 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.”
Targeted Victory is one of the biggest vendors for Republican campaigns. In 2020, the firm earned over $230 million, and its largest clients were from groups like the pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action.
The social media app has gotten harsh criticism from Republican politicians. Lawmakers like Marco Rubio had pushed for the app to be investigated for censorship, and former President Donald Trump had signed an executive order to ban it.
The report comes after Facebook declared that it was losing users for the first time in its 18-year history. Meta’s recent earnings report said that Facebook’s active users dropped by almost 500,000 at the end of last year.