As far back as last October, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was sounding the alarm about the threat from TikTok, saying the Chinese video sharing app doesn’t have a commitment to freedom of expression and represents a risk to American values and technological supremacy, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
In a private dinner at the White House that month, Zuckerberg tried to prevent U.S. regulation of Facebook and argued to President Donald Trump that the ascendancy of Chinese internet companies threatens American business and should be a larger concern than reining in Facebook, sources told the Journal.
Although it can’t be determined exactly what role Zuckerberg’s comments played in the administration’s decisions concerning TikTok, the government began a national security review soon after his White House meeting, leading to Trump earlier this month signing an executive order demanding that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance Ltd., divest itself of its American operations.
However, BuzzFeed News reported earlier this month that Zuckerberg called the executive order against TikTok unwelcome, because the global harm of such a move would likely outweigh any short-term gain to Facebook.
But Facebook’s attempts to warn about TikTok have angered some inside the Chinese company, with CEO Kevin Mayer publicly accusing Facebook of trying to unfairly quash competition, saying last month that “At TikTok, we welcome competition. But 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 U.S.”
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