Facebook Paid GOP Firm To Campaign Against TikTok

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The Washington Post reported that Targeted Victory went to great lengths to promote negative coverage about TikTok, putting particular emphasis on teen trends alleged to have started on the platform, though the report claims some of them, at least, have their origins on Facebook. The firm didn’t comment on the allegations, but it did tell WaPo it has worked with Facebook for years. TikTok, for its part, expressed ample concern about the allegations in its own statement.

Assuming the leak is accurate, it would seem Targeted Victory attempted to leverage both the media and politicians as part of its attack on the platform. On March 12, 2022, the report alleges, the firm sent a letter to the editor of the Denver Post from a concerned parent named Kevin Burns claiming TikTok was harmful to children’s mental health. This same letter praised the attorneys general from multiple states, particularly Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, for their investigation of the platform and the supposed harm it may cause.

Beyond that, the report goes on to claim several other tactics were used as part of this alleged effort, including an attempt to boost a fake teen TikTok challenge called “Slap a Teacher.” All the while, Targeted Victory reportedly also dedicated time to seeding positive news and claims about Facebook to various media outlets ranging from television to traditional radio and local news agencies.

 Targeted Victory is one of the biggest vendors for GOP campaigns, earning over $230 million in 2020. Some of its favorite customers include America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC.

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