Meta paid GOP operatives to push negative stories about TikTok: report

Meta has employed a high GOP consulting agency to gin up rage towards TikTok and deflect political scrutiny away from Facebook and Instagram, in accordance to a report on Wednesday. 

The consulting agency, Targeted Victory, pushed 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,” in accordance to an inside e-mail from February reported by the Washington Post.  

Targeted Victory reportedly superior Meta’s agenda by pushing information stories blaming harmful on-line developments such because the “slap a teacher challenge” on TikTok — despite the fact that the development truly originated on Facebook. 

The group additionally helped place op-eds and letters to the editor in native papers just like the Denver Post and Des Moines Register, elevating considerations about China “deliberately collecting behavioral data on our kids,” in accordance to the report. 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has blamed TikTok for Facebook’s slowing consumer progress, which has contributed to its inventory tanking 32.5% to this point this yr. 

Targeted Victory reportedly pushed the message that “TikTok is the real threat especially as a foreign owned app that is #1 in sharing data that young teens are using.”
Getty Images

“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly,” Zuckerberg mentioned throughout an earnings name in February. 

Targeted Victory’s mandate from Meta appeared to be twofold: cease TikTok from drawing customers from Instagram and Facebook whereas additionally sapping assist for antitrust lawsuits and payments concentrating on Meta. 

Zac Moffatt
Targeted Victory CEO Zac Moffatt claims a few of the Washington Post’s reporting is “inaccurate or just totally wrong.”

“Bonus point if we can fit this into a broader message that the current bills/proposals aren’t where [state attorneys general] or members of Congress should be focused,” one Targeted Victory staffer wrote in an e-mail obtained by the newspaper. 

Targeted Victory’s CEO Zac Moffatt, who beforehand labored digital director of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential marketing campaign, informed The New York Post he’s “working on a list of points where the [Washington Post’s] reporting was inaccurate or just totally wrong.” 

“Targeted Victory’s corporate practice manages bipartisan teams on behalf of our clients,” Moffatt added. “It is public knowledge we have worked with Meta for several years and we are proud of the work we have done.” 

He additionally pointed to a number of Washington Post headlines from 2021 that had linked viral developments — together with the “slap a teacher challenge” — to TikTok. 

“These viral stories about TikTok they claims [sic] are ‘rumors’ were actually reported by their own newspaper, some from over 6 months ago,” Moffatt added in a Twitter thread

A TikTok spokesperson mentioned that the corporate is “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.” 

The Washington Post mentioned in a press release that it stood by its reporting.

A Meta spokesperson mentioned, “We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success.”

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