TikTok owner ByteDance has accused Facebook Inc. of “plagiarism and smear” as the Chinese owner of the video-sharing app is under pressure to sell its US. business.
“ByteDance has always been committed to becoming a global company,” the company said. “In this process, we are faced with all kinds of complicated and unimaginable difficulties, including the tense international political environment, the collision and conflict of different cultures, and the plagiarism and smear of competitor Facebook (FB).”
ByteDance made the comments as Microsoft Corp (MSFT) said on Sunday that it is prepared to continue negotiations to buy TikTok’s US operations after talking to President Trump. Before the talks Trump had told reporters on Air Force One that he preferred to ban the app over security concerns and wouldn’t support a sale.
“We still adhere to the vision of globalization, and continue to increase investment in markets around the world, including China, to create value for global users,” ByteDance said. “We strictly abide by local laws and will actively use the rights granted to us by the law to safeguard the legal rights of the company.”
Last week, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer attacked Facebook for developing “copycat” products and lamented that the company has received even more scrutiny than others in the industry due to its Chinese origins.
“Facebook is even launching another copycat product, Reels (tied to Instagram), after their other copycat Lasso failed quickly,” Mayer said in a post on TikTok’s website. “But let’s focus our energies on fair and open competition in service of our consumers, rather than maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US.”
Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week participated in a US congressional hearing to discuss allegations related to the dominance and market power of the social online platform and whether the company is abusing its power or stifling their competitors.
According to a Bloomberg report, Zuckerberg planned to portray his company as an American success story in a competitive and unpredictable market, now threatened by the rise of Chinese social media apps around the world and increasingly, at home, with the popularity of TikTok.
Shares in Facebook have surged 23% this year as the social media network has been benefiting from a user boom during the coronavirus pandemic, which accelerated the need for remote social engagement as well as for online business and working tools.
Indeed, Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini last week, raised the stock’s price target to $303 from $265 and maintained a Buy rating, saying that she sees Facebook benefiting “from what is likely to be an even faster shift to digital in the years ahead”.
TipRanks data shows that overall Wall Street analysts have a bullish call on Facebook. The Strong Buy consensus boasts 30 Buy ratings versus 4 Hold ratings.