Eleven years ago, Facebook was caught red-handed after hiring a prominent PR firm to try to spread stories harshly criticizing Google’s privacy practices to leading news outlets.
In 2018, it hired public relations firm Definers to conduct opposition research on the company’s critics, including billionaire philanthropist George Soros. The company’s longtime head of communications, Elliot Schrage, took the blame for agreeing to hire Definers and similar firms and left Facebook.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is using similar tactics to go after another rival TikTok. Meta, the Post reported, hired a Republican consulting firm called Targeted Victory to “orchestrate a nationwide campaign” against TikTok.
According to the Post, Targeted Victory has signed deals with dozens of PR firms across the US to help “sway anti-TikTok public opinion” by publishing local news and helping place comments targeting TikTok in the across the country, the story goes.
Meta confirmed that it has discontinued Targeted Victory.
“We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a scrutiny commensurate with their growing success,” spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.
Zac Moffatt, Targeted Victory’s CEO, said the company “manages bipartisan teams on behalf of our clients.”
“It is well known that we have worked with Meta for several years and we are proud of the work we have done,” he said in a statement.
The Post received internal emails from Targeted Victory detailing a campaign to subvert TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance.
The firm used a mix of “genuine concerns and unfounded fears” regarding TikTok to try to turn public and political sentiment against it.
According to the report, Targeted Victory also worked to bring “proactive coverage” about Facebook to local media, including “submitting letters and opinion pieces glowing with Facebook’s role in, for example, supporting black-owned businesses.” .
“We are deeply concerned that fueling local media reports of alleged trends not found on the platform could harm the real world,” TikTok said in an emailed statement.
https://www.independent.ie/news/facebook-resorts-to-old-smear-tactics-against-tiktok-41505446.html Facebook is resorting to old smear tactics over TikTok