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Thursday, June 22, 2023
MRC Again Hides Meta Using GOP Firm To Attack TikTok
Topic: Media Research Center

In March, the Media Research Center claimed that "Eight Big Tech companies and one tech industry group all went radio silent when MRC Free Speech America asked whether communist Chinese government-tied TikTok should be banned in the U.S." One of those companies was Facebook. Luis Cornelio wrote a follow-up in a May 8 post:

Meta is finally speaking up about the dangers of the communist Chinese government-tied TikTok.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking new restrictions on Facebook, one of the companies owned by Meta, after the Big Tech giant allegedly failed to adhere to a 2020 settlement worth $5 billion over data privacy violations.

In response, Meta instead pointed a finger at TikTok. The anti-free speech tech giant Meta broke its silence on TikTok five weeks after MRC Free Speech America sought the company’s takeon the communist Chinese government-tied app.

Meta conveniently dubbed the FTC’s push to impose new sanctions — including barring both Facebook and Instagram from profiting off data of users under the age of 18 —  “a political stunt.” It then slammed the consumers' protection agency for attempting to thwart Congressional authority and giving the communist Chinese government-tied TikTok app cover.


The company’s surprising reference to TikTok echoes similar remarks made by another Meta executive. Meta’s head of global affairs Nick Clegg questioned TikTok’s values in an interview with Bloomberg TV on April 25. Clegg also criticized China for blocking companies like Meta from operating in their authoritarian nation.

In fact, it's not surprising at all. Corneliio didn't mention that -- as ConWebWatch has documented -- Meta has long been critical of its business rival, to the point that it paid Republican marketing firm Targeted Victory to spread fear about TikTok and its Chinese ownership. The MRC's own anti-TikTok coverage has hewed closely to that Facebook-purachased narrative, which suggests Targeted Victory may have had a hand in shaping it.

Meanwhile -- in apparent attempt to maintain plausible deniability -- Cornelio  made sure to insert some criticism of TikTok:

MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris acknowledged Meta’s attempt to draw attention to the dangers of TikTok but also blasted Facebook for its anti-free speech record.

“Glad to see Meta is now on board with calling out TikTok for the dangers it poses to American citizens. The federal government would do well to take note,” said Morris. “But as for the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, its latest revelation on TikTok doesn’t absolve it from its radical anti-free speech past.” 

Morris knows, or should know, that Facebook/Meta has been attacking TikTok for years using a GOP marketing firm, so it's dishonest of him to claim that it's only just now "calling out TikTok."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 PM EDT

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