In a statement about the difficulties of going global, ByteDance said one of its challenges was ‘the plagiarism and smears of competitor Facebook’
Facebook is launching a TikTok-like product, Instagram Reels in the US in early August
, the owner of troubled short video sensation TikTok, took aim at Facebook in a statement on Sunday night that accused the social media giant of “plagiarism and smears”.
“In the process [of becoming a global company] we are faced with all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including the tense international political environment, the collision and conflict of different cultures, and the plagiarism and smears of competitor Facebook,” ByteDance said in a post from its official account on news aggregator Jinri Toutiao.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has
in the past. His company also plans to debut
, a feature for sharing short-form video content similar to TikTok, in the US in early August, after its
. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ByteDance’s post came after US President Donald Trump said on Friday he would sign an executive order as soon as Saturday to
, after dismissing the idea of a sale to Microsoft.
However, the president has since agreed to give Beijing-based ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of the app to Microsoft, according to a Reuters report on Monday citing three people familiar with matter.
Microsoft said in a statement on Sunday that following a conversation between its CEO Satya Nadella and Trump, the tech giant is
to explore a purchase of TikTok and will complete these discussions no later than September 15.
While ByteDance did not address the threatened US ban or the possible sale of TikTok to Microsoft in its Sunday statement, the company said it continues to “adhere to the vision of globalisation, to increase investment in the global market around the world including China, and to create value for global users”.
“We strictly abide by local laws, and will actively use the rights granted to us by the laws to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the company,” it added.
The statement quickly became the top trending topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on Monday morning.
Many of the comments were critical, with Chinese internet users accusing ByteDance of “kneeling down” to foreign pressure in response to news of its possible sale of TikTok to Microsoft.
“If a byte wants to dance, it should first stand up with dignity,” a Weibo user using the handle “A Friend of China’s Intellectual Property” wrote.
Another compared its response to that of
, the Chinese telecommunications giant that is facing bans internationally, including in the
“Huawei is standing up and making money, but you won’t be able to make money because you knelt down,” another user “Kuanglan” commented.
Still, some netizens voiced support for the company.
“I’m so surprised, as the victim of geopolitical tensions, TikTok and [its owner] Zhang Yiming has become a target for everyone?” Weibo user “Yayayamaijia” wrote in a post. “This is weird, rational voices have been silenced and there are too many nationalists.”
On ByteDance’s Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, sentiment toward the company also appeared to be far more positive. A search of the keyword “TikTok” turned up mostly news from official Chinese media outlets about the threatened US ban, with many comments critical of the US.
“[The United States] is trying to rob [TikTok] because it is too strong,” one user called “click me to like” wrote in a comment on Douyin.
This is the second time in a week that ByteDance has clashed with Facebook. At a US antitrust hearing last Wednesday, Zuckerberg had said that the social media platform was “in many areas, behind our competitors” including TikTok.
“Facebook stands for a set of basic principles, giving people voice and economic opportunity, keeping people safe, upholding democratic traditions, like freedom of expression and voting,” he said in his opening statement. “These are fundamental values for most of us, but not for everyone in the world. Not for every company we compete with or the countries they represent.”
In a statement the same day, TikTok CEO
slammed what he called “maligning attacks by our competitor – namely Facebook – disguised as patriotism and designed to put an end to our very presence in the US”.
Mayer also criticised Facebook’s “copycat” products Reels and Lasso. “To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on,” he wrote.