Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, may have used a personal meeting with President Trump to push for the US to attack TikTok, said the Wall Street Journal. At the time of his visit to Washington DC late last year, the Facebook CEO made both public speeches and private exhortations about the threat posed by its rival. The paper notes that it was immediately after meeting Zuckerberg that senators began raising concerns about TikTok’s safety.
A spokesperson for senator Josh Hawley implies that TikTok is being used to draw away attention from Facebook’s own regulatory concerns and to get lawmakers to crush a rival. Kelli Ford is quoted as saying that Facebook’s alarmism is a “PR tactic to boost its own reputation.”
The report stated that Facebook spends record amounts on lobbying, and has brought out an advocacy group, American Edge, to push US tech firms in DC.
TikTok has, for its part, pointed accusatory fingers at Facebook, saying that’s it’s trying to make use of policies to bring down a rival. In July, Ceo Kevin Mayer released an open letter calling Facebook out for launching “another copycat product […] after their other copycat, Lasso, failed quickly.” Mayer also noted that Facebook was releasing “maligning attacks by our competitor — namely Facebook — disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.”