Facebook attacks ‘disguised as patriotism’

The president of the Direct-to-Consumer & International division of The Walt Disney Company Kevin Mayer participated today in Disney + Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, California, on August 23, 2019.

Jesse Grant

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer is accusing Facebook of using patriotism as an unfair way to attack the Chinese-owned consumer app.

“At TikTok, we welcome the competition. We believe that fair competition makes us all better,” Mayer said in a blog post published on Wednesday. “But let us focus our energies on fair and open competition at the service of our consumers, rather than malign attacks by our competitor, namely Facebook, disguised as patriotism and designed to end our presence in the United States.”

Mayer’s post comes after prepared comments from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were released ahead of his testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust scheduled for Wednesday. In those comments, Zuckerberg touted Facebook as “a proudly American company.”

“We believe in the values ​​(democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression) on which the American economy was built,” wrote Zuckerberg. “Many other technology companies share these values, but there is no guarantee that our values ​​will win. For example, China is building its own version of the Internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.”

Mayer also criticized Facebook’s efforts to create imitation TikTok apps, which is an app where users can post short videos and is one of the most popular apps among teens and young adults.

“For those who want to launch competitive products, we say bring it,” Mayer wrote. “Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (linked to Instagram), after its other copycat Lasso quickly failed.”

Mayer was chief broadcast officer at Disney before becoming the CEO of TikTok and the new chief operating officer of its Chinese parent company ByteDance in May.

Since Mayer’s arrival, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States is seeking to ban TikTok and other Chinese social media apps.

TikTok agrees that it must deal with even greater scrutiny due to the company’s Chinese origins, Mayer said.

“We accept this and we accept the challenge of giving peace of mind through greater transparency and accountability,” he said. “We believe that it is essential to show users, advertisers, creators and regulators that we are responsible and committed members of the American community who comply with the laws of the United States.”

In March, TikTok announced plans for a Transparency and Accountability Center to disclose its content and algorithm policies. In his new statement, Mayer asked other social media apps to also disclose their algorithms, moderation policies, and data flows to regulators.

“We believe that our entire industry should be maintained at an exceptionally high level,” he said.