Facebook's Sandberg Admits Knowing About PR Firm

But another Facebook exec has taken the fall
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2018 3:28 PM CST
Sheryl Sandberg Backtracks on Controversial PR Firm
In this Jan. 17, 2017 photo Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering in Paris.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

Facebook second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg now admits that she saw materials from a controversial PR firm that linked the company's critics to George Soros. In a statement Wednesday, Sheryl Sandberg, the firm's chief operating officer, said materials from Definers Public Affairs had indeed crossed her desk, NBC reports. Sandberg said some of the firm's work was "incorporated into materials" presented to her. The firm's strategy has been criticized as playing into anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. "It was never anyone’s intention to play into an anti-Semitic narrative against Mr. Soros or anyone else," Sandberg said in a statement. "Being Jewish is a core part of who I am and our company stands firmly against hate." Sanders had previously denied knowing anything about the firm.

Sandberg's statement was attached to a memo from outgoing Facebook VP Elliot Schrage, in which he admitted having the firm push fake narratives, defended the publicizing of links between Facebook critics and Soros, and took full responsibility in a manner that TechCrunch describes as "jumping on the grenade." Patrick Gaspard, chief of Soros' philanthropic group Open Society Foundation, was not impressed, the Guardian reports. Facebook decided "to drop a turkey on Thanksgiving eve, with admission that Definers was tasked by company leadership to target and smear George Soros because he publicly criticized their out of control business model," he tweeted. "Sorry, but this needs independent, congressional oversight." (Mark Zuckerberg says he hopes to keep working with Sandberg for decades to come.)

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