As reported by The Washington Post, Meta has paid a “right of center” marketing firm, Targeted Victory, to lead a campaign that has included placing op-eds and letters to the editor in local papers to promote anti-TikTok sentiment, especially when it comes to children using the app.
Targeted Victory allegedly worked with local operatives to promote the negative coverage around purported trends on TikTok harming children to compel lawmakers to take action; the firm also sought to promote positive coverage about Meta and use the anti-TikTok pieces to deflect from government antitrust and privacy concerns leveled against the Facebook parent company, according to the Post’s reporting.
“We are deeply concerned that the stoking of local media reports on alleged trends that have not been found on the platform could cause real world harm,” Hilary McQuaide, a spokesperson for TikTok, said.
Representatives for Meta and Targeted Victory have not responded to inquiries from THR on whether the campaign is ongoing in light of the Post‘s reporting. But Zac Moffatt, the CEO of Targeted Victory, said in a statement that the firm has worked with Meta for “several years” and “manages bipartisan teams on behalf of [their] clients.” The executive also noted in a series of tweets Wednesday that critical coverage of purported trends and challenges on TikTok have also been published in the Post.
Meta, meanwhile, has defended its involvement in the anti-TikTok campaign. “We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success,” Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, said in a separate statement.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.