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

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg 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 Cotton (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 Trump that the rise of Chinese internet companies poses a huge threat to American businesses during a private dinner in October, the Journal reported.

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.

Tags Donald Trump Mark Zuckerberg Tom Cotton
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