Facebook's Top Brass Say They Knew Nothing About Definers. Don't Believe Them


Facebook has operated in the last years of aggressive lobbying, to critics, to repel, to win over politicians and to discredit the competition.

"I learned about this relationship when I read The New York Times piece yesterday", Zuckerberg said.

Facebook was also said to have employed a Republican firm specializing in opposition research to discredit activists, partly by linking them to the liberal Soros, who has become a favoured target of Trump supporters and far-right conspiracy groups.

In a letter addressed to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and copying CEO Mark Zuckerberg along with several Facebook investors and Washington politicians, Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard denounced Facebook's alleged efforts to disparage Soros. The report dwelt on several issues like the company's poor response to Russian abuse of its platform during the last U.S. general election, Mark Zuckerberg's disdain for Tim Cook, and more.

With the shockwaves from the New York Times report still reverberating, Facebook announced Thursday that it will create an independent oversight committee to deal with content issues.

Responding to the article, Facebook said it had wanted to show that Freedom From Facebook was "not simply a spontaneous grassroots campaign" and that the movement was "supported by a well-known critic of our company".

Sandberg said she and Zuckerberg had informed Congress, and law enforcement, of several traditional cyberattacks with ties to Russian Federation in the run up to election day in November 2016. Facebook added, "To suggest that this was an anti-Semitic attack is reprehensible and untrue".

In October 2017, Facebook hired a Republican opposition research firm called Definers Public Affairs to help manage the company's PR image.

Gaspard said that beyond Soros, "Your methods threaten the very values underpinning our democracy", and asked to speak with Sandberg in person about how Facebook plans to move forward.

Facebook has been facing a litany of accusations regarding its misuse of user data, failure to handle the issues of privacy and failure to curb the spread of fake news and propaganda on the platform.

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Prior to this, Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have largely stayed out of content policy decisions, preferring instead to look to other resources like third-party fact-checkers in order to weed out fake news.

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Facebook weeks ago opened a "war room" at its Menlo Park headquarters in California to be a nerve center for the fight against misinformation and manipulation of the largest social network by foreign actors trying to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere.

Other notable updates included sharp rises during the first half of this year in censorship demands from Russian and Pakistan authorities and user data requests from Indian authorities, according to Facebook's statistics. Many NTK articles were carried by conservative websites such as Breitbart.

Ben Collins covers disinformation, extremism and the internet for NBC News.

Facebook is already a awful social media network.

Facebook denies that it asked Definers to spread misinformation on its behalf.

However, Definers says it never sought to smear Soros.

However, Facebook noted that it has now ended its contract with Definers.