The CEO of TikTook has accused Facebook of attempting to pressure his firm out of the U.S. market with assaults “disguised as patriotism.”
In a weblog revealed right now, ex-Disney streaming govt Kevin Mayer, who has led the Chinese-owned platform since May, criticized Instagram’s upcoming TikTok-like video product “Reels,” describing the upcoming rival as a “copycat product.”
Mayer blasted Facebook’s method to competitors hours earlier than CEO Mark Zuckerberg was set to look earlier than a congressional antitrust listening to. In his opening remarks, the Facebook boss pitched his platform as “a proudly American company.”
Mayer wrote within the weblog publish: “We think fair competition makes all of us better. To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on.”
Referencing a TikTok-inspired Facebook product that by no means discovered an viewers and was closed this month, he added: “Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (tied to Instagram), after their other copycat Lasso failed quickly.
“But let’s focus our energies on honest and open competitors in service of our shoppers, relatively than maligning assaults by our competitor—particularly Facebook—disguised as patriotism and designed to place an finish to our very presence within the U.S.”
As pressure has mounted on TikTok over its ownership, and critics suggesting user data of Americans could be stolen or accessed by the foreign state, speculation has surged that the short-form video app could be banned by the U.S. government.
It appears that Facebook smells blood in the water. The Wall Street Journal reported this week Instagram had already talked to some TikTok creators, offering money in exchange for exclusively creating content on Reels—expected in the coming weeks.
Last month, after India outlawed TikTok over security concerns, Instagram was quick to act by launching a test of Reels in the region, Business Insider reported.
Mayer has now attempted to distance his app from data and privacy risks by pledging to share more information about its “algorithms, moderation insurance policies, and information flows,” saying such a move puts his company “a step forward of the trade.”
It is unclear if the move will calm the fears of U.S opponents, who argue sharing data with the app is as good as handing it directly to the Chinese state.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a technology firm based in Beijing. Reuters reported today that ByteDance investors have valued TikTok as being worth $50 billion.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro previously suggested that president Trump was “solely getting began” with apps such as TikTok and WeChat and described Mayer as being an “American puppet” for taking a position at the Chinese firm.
In his blog today, Mayer firmly disagreed with criticism, echoing repeated denials from TikTok officials who say user data is never given to the Chinese government.
He wrote: “We should not political, we don’t settle for political promoting and haven’t any agenda… TikTook has grow to be the most recent goal, however we aren’t the enemy.
“The bigger move is to use this moment to drive deeper conversations around algorithms, transparency, and content moderation, and to develop stricter rules of the road. We are taking the first step of many to address these concerns, and call on the industry to follow our lead for the benefit of users and creators everywhere.”