New York Times article forces Facebook's comms team to fight back
17 November, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Carlos George
In a statement on Thursday, Facebook told The Post: "It is wrong to suggest that we have ever asked Definers to pay for or write articles on Facebook's behalf - or to spread misinformation".
Definers pressed reporters to explore the financial connections between Mr. Soros's family or philanthropies and groups that were members of Freedom from Facebook, such as Color of Change, an online racial justice organization, as well as a progressive group founded by Mr. Soros's son.
"The intention was to demonstrate that it was not simply a spontaneous grassroots campaign, as it claimed, but supported by a well-known critic of our company", it said in a statement, without naming Soros.
One such PR firm, called Definers Public Affairs, was specifically used to target Facebook's "bigger opponents, such as Mr. Soros, a longtime boogeyman to mainstream conservatives and the target of intense anti-Semitic smears on the far right".
Zuckerberg said he was not aware of the role of the firm and learned about it from the Times article.
Sputnik: What do you make of the accusations against George Soros and how justified are they?
Facebook blocked the initial accounts a day after being contact by USA law enforcement officials about online activity they believe may be linked to foreign entities.
Facebook said during the April-to-September period it doubled the amount of hate speech it detected proactively compared with the previous six months.
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"Overall Sheryl is doing great work for the company", Zuckerberg said.
The report claims the company hired a PR firm to shift negative media attention onto rival tech companies, had prior knowledge of Russian interference in the USA presidential election and told its management team members to boycott their iPhones after Apple boss Tim Cook made a disparaging remark about the platform. "I want to be very clear about one thing", Zuckerberg said on the call. "But to suggest that they knew about Russian interference and either tried to ignore it or prevent investigations into what had happened is grossly unfair".
In fact, the Times said, for over a year Facebook had amassed evidence of Russian activity through an investigation led by its former security chief, Alex Stamos.
"The entire discussion around Facebook's disclosures of what happened in 2016 is very frustrating".
Speaking to media on Thursday, the Facebook CEO and other executives appeared to take an increasingly humble tone, conceding that the social network may always face challenges with undesirable and misleading posts-an issue Zuckerberg compared to real-world crime-and even pledging to allow an "independent body" to review the site's rulings on content.
At the same time, the report said, Facebook also lobbied the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Jewish civil rights group to cast some of the criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
Still, supporters of Soros are not happy, citing the rising anti-Semitism against the megadonor and philanthropist. Some of the efforts linked the activists to Soros, the report said.
Another possible link: Facebook's chief lobbyist, Joel Kaplan, worked in the George W. Bush White House at the same time as Rhodes and has strong ties to Sandberg.
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