August 8, 2020

TikTok mounts defense against a US ban, claims Facebook is stifling competition

With Big Tech about to face Congress over competition issues, TikTok is speaking up.

Tiktok stock photo on smartphone

  • TikTok has defended itself against a potential US ban.
  • It says Facebook is trying to stifle competition, and that the market would be richer for it.
  • This comes just as Facebook’s CEO is testifying on competition.

With Big Tech about to face Congress over competition issues, TikTok is speaking up — and it’s clearly hoping the hearings will help it avoid a possible US ban.

The social network has posted a treatise on “fair competition and transparency� that both defended the company’s presence in the US and blasted Facebook for allegedly trying to kick it out of the country.

TikTok chief Kevin Mayer pitched the company as an important part of the online American landscape, noting that it was the place “where new music is discovered.� Competition in social media “would dry up� if TikTok left, the executive claimed, and advertisers would have “few choices.�

Mayer said TikTok welcomed competition from others, including “copycat� products like Instagram’s Reels. However, he also accused Facebook of trying to end TikTok’s “very presence� in the US under the guise of patriotism. Critics, including government officials, have claimed that China could force TikTok to collect sensitive data due to its ownership by a Chinese company, ByteDance.

Also read: The best TikTok alternatives and TikTok apps for Android

The CEO argued that TikTok was “not political� and had taken a number of steps to come clean, including the creation of a dedicated Transparency and Accountability Center that provides algorithm source code and outlines its moderation. This shows that TikTok is a “responsible and committed� company that honors US law, according to Mayer, adding that it’s “not the enemy.�

It’s not certain if Congress will listen to TikTok’s argument, whether or not it’s accurate. Nonetheless, TikTok has a strong incentive to speak now. This could not only help the company survive at a crucial moment, but push politicians to curb Facebook in a way that helps TikTok gain ground.