Mark Zuckerberg may have worked a private meeting with President Donald Trump to push for the US to strike TikTok, writes the Wall Street Journal. While his visit to Washington DC late last year, the Facebook CEO gave public speeches and private exhortations about the threat posed by its rival. The writing notes that it was following meeting Zuckerberg that senators started raising concerns about TikTok’s safety.
A spokesperson for senator Josh Hawley hints that TikTok is being used to distract from Facebook’s own regulatory matters and to get lawmakers to crush a competitor. Kelli Ford is quoted as saying that Facebook’s alarmism is a “PR tactic to boost its own reputation.” The paper further adds that Facebook spends record amounts on lobbying, and has started an advocacy group, American Edge, to boost US tech firms in DC.
TikTok has, for its part, aimed accusatory fingers at social giant Facebook, stating that it’s trying to apply politics to hurt a competitor. Earlier in July, CEO Kevin Mayer published a public letter calling Facebook out for launching an “another copycat product […] after their other copycat, Lasso, failed quickly.” Mayer further added that Facebook was launching “maligning attacks by our competitor — namely Facebook — disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.”