Outgoing Facebook exec takes fall for hiring opposition firm

Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Energy and Commerce Committee

Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Energy and Commerce Committee

Dueling charges of anti-Semitism are part of the story, which already has led Facebook to fire a PR firm associated with its aggressive efforts at reputation fix.

And Chuck Schumer puts in an appearance.

San Francisco: The outgoing executive of the social media site Facebook has disclosed that he had hired the services of a political consulting PR firm.

It outlined why it aimed its effort at the company's critics, including Soros.

"A lot of the things that were in that report, we talked to the reporters ahead of time". That afternoon, ADL tweeted a warning that "d$3 epicting Jews as an octopus encircling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope", adding: "Protest Facebook - or anyone - all you want, but pick a different image".

Sandberg, in her statement, thanked Schrage for "sharing" the explanation, said she didn't recall a firm called Definers when she read the Times piece last week, and claimed "that it was never anyone's intention to play into an anti-Semitic narrative against Mr. Soros or anyone else", acknowledging that she is also Jewish.

Sandberg, who is second in command at the company to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said in a statement posted online on Wednesday that she had learned more about Definers in recent days after ordering her staff to check records.

"It's important for Facebook to recognise that this isn't a public relations problem - it's a fundamental challenge for the platform and their business model", Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Washington Post this week.

Picture 2: Again with George Soros? In an internal memo, published by Facebook on the eve of Thanksgiving, Schrage said he "knew and approved of the decision to hire Definers" but was not made aware of expanding the firm's mandate into a smear campaign. "Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protestors, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros".

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Speaking to the Financial Times, David Kirkpatrick, the author of The Facebook Effect, summed up the unravelling of the social network's crisis: "The world is paying the price".

Facebook eventually fired The Definers and admitted to its investigation of Soros.

Soros, of course, also has been cast as a villain in a web of conspiracies concocted by the right and far right.

But Mr Schrage provided no evidence that Mr Soros was more directly involved in the campaign.

On Thursday, Soros' Open Society Foundations leveled the charge of anti-Semitism explicitly.

"While Mr Zuckerberg has conducted a public apology tour in the previous year, Ms Sandberg [Facebook COO] has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook's critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation", the New York Times reported. But he waited until Wednesday night to post it to the public.

BuzzFeed News tech reporter Ryan Mac suggested that while the public may miss the admission due to the holiday, the company's handling of the report could have a long-term impact on how the media covers Facebook. Schumer also has a personal connection to the company: His daughter works at its NY office.

"Clearly employees are questioning the mission of the company", this person told CNN.

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