(NewsGlobal.com)- Feeling vulnerable because of flagging enthusiasm among the youth demographic, Meta, Facebook’s parent corporation, recruited one of the most powerful Republican consulting firms to organize a countrywide anti-TikTok campaign.
According to internal documents the firm, Targeted Victory, sought to damage TikTok through a media and lobbying campaign presenting the app as a menace to American children and society.
TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese business ByteDance, is Facebook’s most serious challenger, particularly in vying for attention amongst young people.
Facebook is becoming known as the platform used by mom and dad, and the children are not at all interested in mingling with their parents.
The effort to discredit TikTok employed tactics similar to those used in political campaigns, such as writing opinion columns and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok dangers, and pressuring political reporters and local politicians to help shut down the app.
A Targeted Victory insider wrote that a “dream would be to get stories with headlines like ‘From dances to danger: how TikTok has become the most harmful social media space for kids.”
According to an internal analysis revealed by whistleblower Frances Haugen, Facebook researchers discovered that kids spent “up to three times more time” on TikTok than on Meta’s Instagram last year, and that Facebook’s popularity among young people had nosedived.
Another incentive for waging the anti-Tik Tok propaganda was to take the focus off of Meta’s looming legal problems. Facebook has been facing privacy and antitrust issues.
“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,” a Targeted Victory staffer wrote in one email.
In addition to the negative propaganda, Targeted Victory also angled to get “proactive coverage” about Facebook into local newspapers, radio segments, and TV broadcasts. Opinion articles praising Facebook for its involvement in initiatives like assisting Black-owned companies were among them.
A digital director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign founded Targeted Victory.