Eleven years ago, Facebook was caught red-handed after it hired a prominent PR company to try to plant stories that harshly criticize Google’s privacy practices in leading news channels.
In 2018, it hired the PR company Definers to do opposition research on the company’s critics, including billionaire philanthropist George Soros. The company’s longtime communications manager, Elliot Schrage, took the blame for approving the hiring of Definers and similar companies and left Facebook.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, uses similar tactics to go after another rival TikTok. Meta, Posten reported, hired a Republican consulting firm called Targeted Victory to “orchestrate a nationwide campaign” against TikTok.
Targeted Victory, according to Posten, has entered into contracts with dozens of public relations firms across the United States to help “swing public opinion against TikTok” by planting local news articles and helping to publish TikTok magazines around the country. .
Meta confirmed that they have hired Targeted Victory.
“We believe that all platforms, including TikTok, should be scrutinized in line with their growing success,” said spokesman Andy Stone in a statement.
Zac Moffatt, CEO of Targeted Victory, said the company “handles two-party teams on behalf of our customers.”
“It is common knowledge that we have been working 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 describing a campaign to undermine TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The company used a mixture of “genuine concerns and unfounded concerns” about TikTok to try to turn public and political sentiment against it.
According to the report, Targeted Victory also worked to get “proactive coverage” of Facebook in local media, including “submitting letters and opinions that speak brilliantly about Facebook’s role in, for example, supporting black-owned companies.”
“We are deeply concerned that raising local media reports about alleged trends that have not been found on the platform could cause real harm to the world,” TikTok said in an email.