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Zuckerberg Warned Of Facebook Rival TikTok In Speech Last Fall

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg played a role in stoking fears about video-sharing app TikTok, a report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) says.

Zuckerberg, in a speech to Georgetown students in Washington D.C. about freedom of expression, also included one line in which he claimed TikTok doesn't share America's value of free expression.

The company, he claimed, represents a threat to American values and technological supremacy.

The message was also one he reportedly drove home repeatedly behind the scenes on that trip, and another one weeks prior, sources told WSJ. That included making the case to President Trump at a private dinner at the White House that Chinese media apps like TikTok represent a threat to American business. He said they should be a bigger concern than trying to rein in Facebook, WSJ wrote.

He also discussed the matter with numerous senators, which led to a national security review of the company. And by the beginning of this year, Trump had begun his public crusade against the video-sharing app. It recently came out that some of TikTok's advertising practices were considered too invasive by Google, although TikTok ceased to do those by last November.

A spokesperson for Zuckerberg said he had no recollection of mentioning TikTok at the White House dinner. And in a staff meeting this month, he reportedly said the executive order from Trump to ban TikTok was "unwelcome" due to the overall global effect it could have.

Zuckerberg's comments come as Facebook has spent this year rolling out an advocacy group, American Edge, that pushes U.S. tech innovation. The tech giant also spent more money lobbying this year than anyone else, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Facebook stands to gain competitively from TikTok's misfortunes. Once, the company might have bought TikTok out, but recent antitrust concerns have made that less of a savvy move now. Instead, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has begun offering monetary payments to content creators who exclusively post to its new video app Reels, in an attempt to poach from TikTok's pool.

Apple has recently gotten scared that the fuss over TikTok could end in a retaliation from China against its App Store, which recent regulation tightenings by the Chinese government have not soothed.

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