Facebook hired a consultant to blame TikTok for creating dangerous trends, according to emails leaked to The Washington Post

The Washington Post has dropped a bomb on the technology ecosystem: according to emails seen by the media, Meta hired a consultant to create a campaign to turn the public against TikTok.

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The company is Targeted Victory, a consulting firm dedicated to advising political campaigns but which, at the same time, has been in charge of accompanying campaigns for Meta for several years now. The Washington Post claims that through emails Targeted Victory executives urged partners to submit stories to local media linking TikTok with dangerous trends for teens.

“The dream would be to get stories with headlines like ‘From dances to danger: how TikTok has become the most harmful social media space for children,’ ” one of the emails reads, according to the outlet.

The reactions

Meta’s stance in response to the story was made known by Andy Stone, who said ” we believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success .” Meanwhile, a TikTok spokesperson told The Washington Post that she is ” deeply concerned ” about stories in local media about dangerous trends allegedly being fueled by the Chinese-origin platform, trends that “have not been found.”

get the message across that while Meta is the current punching bag, TikTok is the real threat, especially as a foreign-owned app that is the number one data-sharing app that young teens are using

Quote from one of Targeted Victory’s internal emails, seen by The Washington Post

Zac Moffat, CEO of Targeted Victory, said via his Twitter account that The Washington Post story ” not only mischaracterizes the work we do, but the key points are simply false .” Moffatt wrote that he has tried to contact the outlet to give his own version of it but has gotten no response. He also said that stories about damaging TikTok trends have been reported months ago by the Washington Post itself. Moffat ends by saying ” we are proud of the work we have done to highlight the dangers of TikTok “.Bad TikTok ClipsThe Washington Post even details stories distributed in recent months about trends allegedly originating from TikTok. According to the outlet, Targeted Victory worked to amplify negative coverage of TikTok through a Google document titled “Bad TikTok Clips.”

One of the stories amplified was the ” devious licking ” challenge in which students were shown vandalizing a school’s property. The story was reproduced in local media in Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Washington DC Although the origin of the trend is not certain, the newspaper cites an investigation by Anna Foley for the Gimlet podcast where it was concluded that the challenge originally came from Facebook.

Similar trends have been attributed to TikTok, such as the “Slap Teacher TikTok” challenge, and, according to The Washington Post, coverage of the alleged trends has been distributed ” especially in key congressional districts ” in the United States.

Within Meta, Mark Zuckerberg himself has recognized that Facebook is facing competition like never before from other apps, and he has specifically referred to TikTok. Facebook, which lost users for the first time in history for the last quarter of 2021, recently announced tools for content creators to earn money by generating Reels, Facebook’s vertical video format with which it seeks to compete directly with TikTok.

According to the IFT, the use of TikTok is still very far from the use of Facebook in Mexico, although the growth trend of the former is unprecedented. According to the study on the adoption of digital tools, TikTok has a preferred rate of 23.2%, more than Twitter and Telegram. Instagram meanwhile has a preference rating of 36.4% and Facebook is way above it at 86.9%.

What do you think?

Written by Christina d'souza

Proofreader, editor, journalist. I have been doing my favourite thing for more than six years.


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