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Are newspapers complicit in Meta’s war on TikTok? — The Media Roundup

Facebook paid strategy firm to malign TikTok

Look. We could talk about underhand and shady behaviour from Meta all day. If you add up all the times we’ve done it on the podcast I bet it would last a day or more. But this one is interesting because of what it says about how Meta sees local media – and the dire straits in which US regional newspapers find themselves.

First the bare facts. Meta is very worried about TikTok. So it has appointed Targeted Victory – a right-of-centre think tank – to push “local operatives” across the country to boost messages calling TikTok a threat to American children. “Dream would be to get stories with headlines like ‘From dances to danger,‘” one campaign director said. Subtle!

Targeted Victory (subtle!) has since pushed back against the story, but the WaPo article makes it clear that when it comes to winning over the hearts and minds of the public Facebook isn’t the way to go – even for Meta. Instead, the trusted and supposedly independent local newspaper is the path to the public’s heart. But should those titles run these stories? Answers on a postcard please (or just reply to this email).

BuzzFeed doesn’t deserve its newsroom

Yesterday Esther shared a hopeful take on BuzzFeed and its treatment of its news wing. For balance – depressing, depressing balance – I present this from Rachel Sanders: “Much of the News staff has been written off as dead weight on the payroll. What, after all, is a Pulitzer worth on a balance sheet?”

BBC aims for 25% representative workforce, reveals commercial board

The BBC has been accused by the Tories of being unrepresentative and a route for getting friends and family into work – apparently without irony. It is true, though, that the BBC needs to be more representative… but it’s unclear how they’ll get to there from here.

US investment firms prop up ad revenue for Russian propaganda sites

Yandex, a company owned almost entirely by Western investors is still helping sites pushing false Russian claims make thousands of dollars a day through on-site adverts. It’s a reminder of the opacity of the digital ad economy – on which so many publications are still reliant.


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