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Mark Zuckerberg pushed anti-TikTok message to officials, lawmakers: report

Mark Zuckerberg pushed anti-TikTok message to officials, lawmakers: report
© AFP/Pool

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Biden names acting chairs to lead FCC, FTC | Facebook to extend Trump ban pending review | Judge denies request for Amazon to immediately restore Parler Facebook to extend Trump ban pending review Facebook has no current plan to end the Trump suspension MORE pushed concerns about TikTok's ties to China during meetings with officials and lawmakers, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The Journal reported that Zuckerberg discussed TikTok with Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSenate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee Senate panel advances Biden Pentagon nominee MORE (R-Ark.) before the government began its national security investigation into the app owned by the China-based ByteDance.

Zuckerberg also made the case to President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE that the rise of Chinese internet companies poses a huge threat to American businesses during a private dinner in October, the Journal reported.

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Zuckerberg has not kept his opposition to China's model for the internet a secret, railing against it both in a speech at Georgetown University last year and in congressional testimony last month.

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in statement Sunday that "Mark has never advocated for a ban on TikTok." He also said it was wrong to conclude that policy decisions were driven by Zuckerberg.

"He has repeatedly said publicly that the biggest competitors to US tech companies are Chinese companies, with values that don't align with democratic ideals like free speech," he said. "It's ludicrous to suggest that long-standing national security concerns raised by policymakers on both sides of the aisle have been shaped by Mark's statements alone."

Trump signed two executive orders earlier this month effectively compelling ByteDance to sell off its American operations within 90 days or face a ban.

Facebook could gain from ByteDance being forced out of the U.S. Zuckerberg described TikTok, a wildly popular short-form video app, as a chief competitor during his testimony last month, and Facebook has launched a clone of TikTok on Instagram called Reels.

Microsoft has emerged as a favorite to purchase ByteDance’s U.S. operations, with the company and TikTok both confirming that negotiations are ongoing.

Last week, it was reported that Oracle has also been exploring a deal.