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How worried is Facebook and Instagram’s parent company about TikTok’s growth? Pretty worried, judging by the Washington Post’s latest investigation.

The Post has uncovered Meta “paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to orchestrate a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok”.

It went on to report that the campaign included “placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor”. Ouch.

There are plenty more details of the “bare-knuckle tactics” in the piece. Let’s be clear: there have been a number of valid concerns about TikTok in the past couple of years, particularly around how children are using the app. Meta’s campaign was (at least sometimes) highlighting genuine issues rather than whipping up imaginary problems.

However, the tactics suggest that TikTok really does have its giant, established competitor in the social-media space rattled.

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