Meta's Response to TikTok Controversy: A Message of Appreciation to US Lawmakers

Meta’s Response to TikTok Controversy: A Message of Appreciation to US Lawmakers

Hello, we’re Facebook, and we’d like to express our deepest thanks to the lawmakers and policymakers of the US for considering a nationwide ban on all electronic devices against those folks at TikTok. We’re pleased that a house panel recently unanimously approved a bill that could ban their practices. It’s about time. What kind of social media platform dares to develop an algorithm that immerses a billion monthly users in a feed that’s so relevant as to be addictive to our very own users?

It is a shame that TikTok tracks which content users engage with and how long they spend doing so. They even have the audacity to spy on users’ country location, internet address, device type, and direct messages. They’re encroaching on our territory. It’s no less than unfair competition and treason.

TikTok has the nerve to seek individual consent to collect users’ contact information, age, phone numbers, and the exact location of their toilets (where they’re inspired to watch our content but we assuredly don’t belong). They even estimate users’ household income, which we at Facebook would never dare to do (except as a means of running our own business as usual).

We deeply regret that TikTok collects data delineating users’ interests to sell to advertisers to target with ads. Only greedy social media platforms would dare to do that. We can only condemn such practices and congratulate policymakers for not falling for TikTok’s duplicitous behavior.

Chinese artificial intelligence firm ByteDance owns TikTok. Some policymakers and users worry that the Chinese government could use TikTok to spy on users and access sensitive information about them, like their locations. Of course, the next step is for them to use such data in secretive or harmful ways. What happens if the Chinese discover a particular user eats something or drives somewhere? Nuclear war? Thankfully, we at Facebook are happy to come to the rescue and invite policymakers to harness the exact same data on our platform. Granted, they won’t be able to leverage data on Chinese users because – guess what? – Meta is banned in China. Too bad, we’d be thrilled to collect Chinese users’ favorite toothbrushes or condoms if we could, as we would in Iran, Russia, or North Korea. 

The argument that a few rare users find joy on TikTok is ill-conceived. We know from a sure source (it’s us) that social media platforms can be harmful to a user’s mental health, particularly for children and young users. Even those studies we’ve read, if not sponsored, have regrettably established that social media use and abuse are linked to increased depression, anxiety, suicide, deforestation, inflation, pollution, tsunamis, alien invasions, and other plagues. Trust us; we have dug and found out. We’d love to know if TikTok can figure out a way to circumvent some of these issues. But they can’t,  and we at Facebook sure agree that it’s a bit of a challenge to hope otherwise.

It's also a shame that TikTok should hurt users’ wallets by encouraging impulse purchases that will now occur on their platform and, sadly, not ours. We at Meta realize that while we are the experts at prompting, urging, and nudging, we can’t be the monopoly we’d love to be.

Yes, it’s about time US lawmakers support a bill and legislation with bipartisan and White House support and send a powerful message that the US will always stand up for our values and freedom by restricting users’ and consumers’ values and freedom.

Thus, it makes sense for the US to pass strong data privacy laws that don’t allow TikTok – but please and thank you, continue to allow us – to gather, store and sell huge amounts of data about the very same users we all are. 

Now, let us enjoy that TikTok feed while we can.