Technology TikTok calls out Facebook in a blog post urging 'fair competition'
The pandemic multiplied TikTok’s audience, and its critics in Washington
The Chinese video app is facing censure from all sides on issues ranging from national security to child safety as it becomes more entrenched in American society.The sharpest jab yet came this week, with President Donald Trump saying he is considering banning the app, known for its lighthearted, short-form videos of viral memes and easy-to-learn dance choreography. But Trump’s remark was only the latest in a series of escalating actions against TikTok across the Capitol that have been building throughout the pandemic.
TikTok took a jab at Facebook for launching "copycat" apps in a blog post about "fair competition" and transparency hours before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to speak before Congress.
TikTok has faced increased scrutiny on its ties to China, mainly surrounding how it handles people's private data. On Wednesday, the Bytedance-owned company expressed its stance on the issue, saying it embraces the challenge while also calling on other social networking sites to disclose what they do with users' information.
TikTok’s biggest problem is outside its control
Ultimately, the fate of the ByteDance-owned app belongs to two global superpowersLast week I wrote about some of the forces putting the squeeze on TikTok — and, uncharacteristically for me when I write about TikTok, the course of events did not immediately reverse and put TikTok into a stronger position. Instead, by several measures, the situation for ByteDance’s popular video app got significantly worse.
"We believe all companies should disclose their algorithms, moderation policies, and data flows to regulators," TikTok's CEO Kevin Mayer said in
The platform took things further with regards to Facebook, calling out the tech giant by name for trying to copy its formula. In 2018, Facebook quietly launched Lasso which let users shoot 15-second videos and overlay popular songs. It later shut down the app.
A few weeks ago,, another TikTok-like video platform for Instagram that also lets people create interactive short clips set to music.
What’s Going on With Trump’s TikTok Ban and the Microsoft Deal?
As TikTok users continue to hold their looped breath, Microsoft is again trying to acquire the app after dealing with some Trump-prompted confusion.Trump also weighed in — somewhat confusingly — on a developing (seemingly White House-backed) deal aimed at avoiding the ban between ByteDance, the Chinese internet company which owns the app, and Microsoft. “[It’s] not the deal that you have been hearing about,” Trump continued, “that they are going to buy and sell, and this and that — and Microsoft and another one. We’re not an M&A [mergers and acquisitions] country.
"To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on," TikTok said. "Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (tied to Instagram), after their other copycat Lasso failed quickly."
TikTok then went after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who previously called the app a threat to democracy in America.
"Let's focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US," TikTok said.
The post comes hours ahead of big tech's hearing before Congress, where Zuckerberg is expected to answer questions surrounding antitrust and Facebook's social media dominance. Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet will also speak before lawmakers starting at noon ET Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration and other government officials have questioned whether TikTok has a place in the U.S. Earlier this month,the Trump administration was looking into a possible ban of TikTok in the U.S.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
New to TikTok: Trump's looming ban prompts some to download the app .
People who downloaded TikTok for the first time say it's an act of protest. New downloads of TikTok will be barred on Sunday.On Friday, Flesher pushed those concerns aside and started using TikTok for the first time after news broke that the Trump administration planned to bar new downloads of the app on midnight Sunday.