Facebook continues to be coping with the fallout from a New York Instances report outlining the corporate’s technique to combat again in opposition to criticism, significantly its work with Definers Public Affairs, an opposition analysis agency with ties to the Republican Social gathering.
That work included a doc that Definers despatched to reporters suggesting ties between George Soros and progressive political teams criticizing Facebook. The Instances story described the broad strokes of the claims made by Definers, however the doc itself has not been shared with the general public — till immediately, when it was printed by BuzzFeed.
At this level, the contents aren’t significantly revelatory, however the doc continues to be price studying, because it’s on the heart of the current controversy.
It’s titled “Freedom From Facebook Potential Funding,” and it begins:
Just lately, quite a few progressive teams got here collectively to type the Freedom From Facebook marketing campaign which has a six-figure advert finances. It’s not clear who’s offering the massive quantity of funding for the marketing campaign however at the very least 4 of the teams within the coalition obtain funding or are aligned with George Soros who has publicly criticized Facebook. It is extremely attainable that Soros is funding Freedom From Facebook.
The doc goes on to level out connections between Soros and several other of the teams concerned in Freedom From Facebook, and it notes Soros’ public criticism of Facebook and Google. By itself, the doc appears “largely innocuous” (as BuzzFeed put it), however it’s develop into controversial for probably enjoying into anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Soros.
A Freedom From Facebook spokesperson has mentioned that no cash from Soros was used to fund the marketing campaign — in actual fact, Axios reported that its preliminary funding got here from David Magerman, a Pennsylvania-based philanthropist and former hedge fund govt.
In line with BuzzFeed, that is one in every of at the very least two paperwork that Definers ready after Soros made crucial remarks about Facebook and Google at Davos.
In the meantime, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have denied information of Definers’ work for Facebook, and outgoing head of public coverage Elliot Schrage took accountability for hiring the agency. However Facebook later acknowledged that Sandberg had requested the communications staff to analysis Soros’ monetary ties after he criticized the corporate, and reporting by my colleague Taylor Hatmaker means that Sandberg was extra conscious of Definers’ work than initially acknowledged.
When reached for remark, a Facebook spokesperson pointed us to Schrage’s submit and mentioned the corporate has nothing additional so as to add.