TikTok asks Facebook for support against Trump’s ban
TikTok is asking social-media competitor Facebook Inc. for support in its legal challenge against President Donald Trump’s plan to ban the Chinese-owned video app in the U.S.
Adam Mosseri, who runs Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing app, tweeted Friday that a TikTok ban, which the Commerce Department announced earlier, “would be quite bad for Instagram, Facebook, and the internet more broadly.” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday that TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat will be banned from U.S. app stores starting Sunday.
TikTok’s interim Chief Executive Officer Vanessa Pappas replied to Mosseri’s tweet, asking the company to join its legal fight against the White House. “We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation,” she wrote. “This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said recently that he felt a TikTok ban would set a “bad long-term precedent” for the tech industry. Facebook is banned in China, and Zuckerberg has said he fears a TikTok ban by the U.S. could open the door for other countries to prohibit Facebook’s apps or services as well.
But Zuckerberg has also called on the U.S. government to take a stronger stance against China, warning that breaking up U.S. tech companies like Facebook might pave the way for Chinese rivals to take their place. At a speech at Georgetown University last fall, Zuckerberg alluded to TikTok, which is owned by China-based ByteDance Ltd., and criticized the app over accusations that it censored content from the Hong Kong protests.
“Until recently, the internet in almost every country outside China has been defined by American platforms with strong free expression values,” Zuckerberg said at the time. “There’s no guarantee these values will win out.”
A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on Pappas’s request.