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WHO GOT D.C. TO NOTICE TIKTOK?

Deflect, deny, distract has been Trump’s m.o. since he took office three and a half long years ago. It now appears Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg took a similar approach to get the White House to focus on TikTok, which is now suing the U.S. government.

During a private dinner at the White House, Zuckerberg put a bug in Trump’s ear that Chinese internet companies are a bigger threat to American businesses than anything Facebook is doing, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

During trips to D.C. in September and October, Zuckerberg had private  meetings with officials and lawmakers, among them Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.). Cotton and Schumer wrote a letter to intelligence officials asking for a security review of TikTok.

Months later, Trump threatened to ban the app and earlier this month demanded its Chinese owner, ByteDance Ltd., divest itself of TikTok’s U.S. operations. TikTok filed suit against the U.S. government this morning, accusing the Trump administration of depriving it of due process.

Zuckerberg, who smugly testified in person back in 2018, has aggressively courted politicians ever since those hearings. The Journal noted that the Center for Responsive Politics listed Facebook #1 among companies’ spending on lobbying in the first half of 2020. Obviously, TikTok’s loss is Facebook’s gain and, in typical fashion, none of the D.C. pols remember what was discussed with Zuckerberg.

 

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