Facebook paid an agency to tarnish TikTok’s image in the press

“The dream would be to see published articles with titles like “From dances to dangers: how TikTok became the most harmful social network for children”. » This is how one of the employees of the agency Targeted Victory presented his mission for Meta, parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, according to internal emails obtained by the Washington Post. The American daily recounts, Wednesday, March 30, comments the company of Mark Zuckerberg paid this SME close to the Republicans to bring out in the regional press in the United States critical content about its Chinese rival, TikTok.

Read also: Children’s mental health: in the United States, investigation opened against TikTok

Concretely, says the daily, the relays of Targeted Victory in the American states were encouraged to identify “bad TikTok videos” and negative stories on the social network, notably collected in an internal document, before contacting the local press to try to have them tried. The agency thus sought to obtain articles on the “sneaky licks”a series of videos of students degrading equipment in college and high school toilets, or on the “slapping a teacher challenge”, a challenge supposed to push students to “slap” a teacher. In both cases, the trends were also visible on Facebook, note the newspaper.

The agency also managed to run two op-eds in newspapers in Colorado and Iowa, adds the Washington Post. Signed with a “parent” and a local Democratic Party official, they relayed negative stories about TikTok and worried about the platform’s effects on young people’s mental health or the Chinese regime’s potential data collection. The link with a company funded by competitor Meta was not mentioned, according to the daily.

Divert attention

It’s necessary “sending the message that while Meta is currently the punching bag, the real threat is actually TikTok, an app owned by aliens and [qui est] leader in youth data,” defends executive in internal Targeted Victory email, reports Washington Post.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “Facebook Files”: for the social network, two months of media and political torment

When asked, Meta communications manager Andy Stone defended his campaign to the press: “We believe that all platforms, TikTok included, should be monitored for their success,” he declares. For its part, the Chinese company said ” worried ” to have to “in the local press articles on supposed tendencies which have not [de] reality on [sa] platform “.

You have 35.23% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Comment