TikTok just slammed Facebook for using patriotism as part of its strategy to market its rival short-video streaming app Instagram Reels and attack the company's business. TikTok's new American chief executive officer, Kevin Mayer, posted a lengthy blog post on Wednesday expressing his dismay over Mark Zuckerberg's prepared remarks prior to his testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.
In his post, Mayer clarified that TikTok was very much open to competition. However, Mayer stated Facebook's way of marketing its rival product was unacceptable and unfair. Mayer's reaction stemmed from Zuckerberg's published remarks prior to the antitrust meeting this week.
In his published remarks, Zuckerberg touted Facebook as a "proudly American company," which TikTok had taken as a direct and unfair attack against it. TikTok is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, a fact that has caused the company quite a lot of trouble in the United States. At one point, the Trump Administration even threatened to outright ban the use of the app, similar to what the Indian government has done.
Some U.S. lawmakers and politicians have accused TikTok of being a potential national security threat given that it is owned by a Chinese company. TikTok has since clarified that it is operating independently from its Chinese owner and that none of its data centers are located in China.
Zuckerberg suggested in his prepared remarks that the U.S. needs to support American companies. He added that China was building its own version of the internet and it is imperative that the values that built the American economy will prevail.
Apart from accusing Facebook of disguising its attack as patriotism aimed at bringing down TikTok's U.S. operations, Mayer also lambasted the social media giant's move to build a copycat version of its platform. Mayer pointed out that this isn't the first time Facebook had blatantly copied its business model, with Mayer referring to Facebook's failed Lasso mobile app.
Mayer took the position as TikTok's chief executive officer in May as part of the company's efforts to further distance itself from its Chinese parent company. Mayer previously served as the head of Disney's streaming unit before he took the CEO position.
Earlier in the week, a group of U.S. investors expressed interest in buying a controlling stake in the company, essentially making it an American-run platform. Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the group included major U.S. investment firms such as Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic. The group had reportedly already met with ByteDance's founder and chief executive officer, Zhang Yiming, to discuss a possible deal.