Fake news on Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg paid for the spread of fake news against TikTok

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One of the social media who arrived in times of pandemic not only to stay but to lead life on the internet is TikTok. And to confirm that it is number one, the Chinese social network was positioned as the most downloaded in 2021 in the Apptopia ranking, closely followed by Instagram, the family app Goal user favourite.

But apparently for Zuckerberghaving the second place in the Internet users’ taste is not enough, especially when its platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp they had been located for several years in the first places of consumption.

After the millionaire losses that the arrival of TikTok has generated in the market, everything seems to indicate that Zuckerberg got tired of fair competition and started dirty play. According to The Washington Post, Facebook hired a company called Targeted Victory, dedicated to the Republican-leaning ‘Lobby’ (a word used to talk about pressure groups), to spread false information among local and regional media outlets. EU on the dangers of using TikTok.

How does the company dedicated to the Lobby work?

The US media leaked several emails where, effectively, Facebook speaks with the pressure group Targeted Victory to contract its services and request that it resort to local newspapers to try to instill a negative opinion against the Chinese network.

As part of its strategy, the Lobby company was sharing news that spoke negatively about TikTok. Some of them were even part of the wave of reports when Donald Trump threatened to block TikTok in the US, for allegedly working as an espionage weapon by China.

But this was not all, because to give more credibility to their fake news, Targeted Victory also sought the support of Democratic politicians and other influential public figures who gave negative opinions about the ByteDance network.

Facebook seeks to get rid of TikTok

A director of the lobbying company wrote in an email that “TikTok is the real threat, especially since it’s a foreign-owned app (it’s China) and it’s number one in sharing data used by young teens.”

In addition, it was revealed that one of the ideas of the smear campaign against TikTok was to search for local stories in which the Chinese network had been harmful to a teenager. “The dream would be to get stories with headlines like ‘TikTok has become the most harmful social media space for children,'” reads one of the emails from the company hired by Facebook.

According to The Washington Post, in October, Targeted Victory set out to spread rumors of the “slap-a-teacher TikTok challenge” on the local news. The media pointed out that the challenge never existed on TikTok, but that the rumor had started on Facebook.

The lobbying firm is also known to have hired dozens of public relations firms across the US to help sway public opinion against TikTok. In addition to putting up local news, the company has helped publish op-eds against TikTok across the country, especially in key congressional outlets.

It is striking that Facebook has resorted to accusing TikTok of being a danger to teenagers, when the same company owned by Zuckerberg has faced the law on this very issue.

Today, TikTok is truly a threat to Facebook, as in an internal report leaked last year by former employee Frances Haugen, Facebook researchers claimed that teens spent “2 to 3 times more time” on TikTok than on Facebook. Instagram, and that Facebook’s popularity among young people had plummeted.

This situation caused Facebook to collapse in the stock market. In a matter of one day it lost 24% of its market capitalization, being the largest loss of value in 24 hours for an American company in history.

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Fake news on Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg paid for the spread of fake news against TikTok