This may surprise you, but companies tend to smear other companies in order to stay ahead of the game. This is the case with Meta and TikTok. According to emails obtained by the Washington Post (via Engadget), Meta paid a company to run a smear campaign against TikTok.
We all know that big businesses will do anything to remain big. This involves straddling the line between morally right and downright wrong. This is inescapable, unfortunately, as big businesses receive no more than a smack on the wrist whenever they cross that line. Also, a lot of those businesses that perform shady business practices provide a service that we all use and depend on.
Meta paid money to smear TikTok
We all know that Meta is one of the most valuable companies out there. This means that it has a lot of money to throw around. The Washington Post obtained a collection of emails that Meta sent to a company called Targeted Victory to run a smear campaign against TikTok. We can bet that A LOT of money was exchanged in the process.
As quoted from one of the emails, Meta wanted Targeted Victory to “get the message out that while Meta is the current punching bag, TikTok is the real threat as a foreign owned app”, also that TikTok is “#1 in sharing data that young teens are using.”
With that statement, we see that Meta wanted to hit all of the right buttons. “Social Media and kids” is one of the hottest topics nowadays. Also, the topic of data sharing and data sharing with China specifically occupies a lot of minds. Painting TikTok as a child data-mining threat to the world will definitely worry some folks.
Meta wanted Target Victory to push local news stories that could shine a harsh light on TikTok. This would involve showcasing dangerous trends and saying that they spring from TikTok. This would target worried parents whose kids use the app.
Meta also wanted to take some of the heat off of its own controversies
Not only did Meta want to paint TikTok as a bad app (well, a worse app), but it also wanted to take some of the heat off of some of its own legal troubles. Meta is one of those companies that are ALWAYS in some sort of legal trouble. Well, one email reads, “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”.
This means that it wants attorney generals and Congress members to focus their wrath elsewhere. Now that this news is out, it seems that this endeavor did the exact opposite.