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Sheryl Sandberg sought info on George Soros after Facebook criticism

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sheryl sandberg
Facebook chief operating
officer Sheryl Sandberg.

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Shelley/Getty Images


  • Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg
    reportedly requested opposition research on billionaire George
    Soros.
  • Sandberg reportedly wanted to know if Soros, who
    publicly criticized Facebook, was shorting the company’s stock.
    That news comes after it was revealed that Facebook had a
    relationship with the opposition-research firm, Definers Public
    Affairs.
  • Definers has had ties to Republican campaigns and it
    previously released a report that suggested Soros, a popular
    target for anti-Semitic and right-wing groups, was secretly
    funding anti-Facebook organizations.
  • Sandberg has suggested she was unaware of Facebook’s
    relationship with the firm.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, reportedly
requested
research
on billionaire George Soros, and wanted to see if
the investor was shorting Facebook’s stock, the company said to
multiple news organizations on Thursday.

That news comes after it was revealed that Facebook had a
relationship with the opposition-research firm, Definers Public
Affairs. Definers has had ties to Republican campaigns and it
previously released a report that suggested Soros, a popular
target for anti-Semitic and right-wing groups, was secretly
funding anti-Facebook organizations.

Sandberg, who has been at the crux of recent controversies
involving the company, previously suggested she was unaware of
Facebook’s relationship with Definers.

“I did not know we hired them or about the work they were doing,
but I should have,” she said wrote earlier in November.

Following news of the firm’s relationship with Facebook, the tech
giant immediately
cut ties
with the company.

Read more:
Sheryl Sandberg repeatedly tried to downplay Russia’s involvement
in misinformation on Facebook, report says

A Facebook spokesperson said Sandberg did not direct Definers
Public Affairs, adding that she did request information about
Soros’ “potential motivations,”
BuzzFeed News
reported. Her request followed Soros’
appearance at the World Economic Forum in January, where he
described tech companies like Facebook and Google as a “menace”
and “internet monopolies.”

“Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his
investments and trading activity related to Facebook,” a Facebook
spokesperson said to BuzzFeed News. “That research was already
underway when Sheryl sent an email asking if Mr. Soros had
shorted Facebook’s stock.”

“Sheryl never directed research on Freedom from Facebook,” the
spokesperson added, referring to an anti-Facebook campaign. “But
as she said before she takes full responsibility for any activity
that happened on her watch.”

Following the public backlash, Facebook’s outgoing boss of policy
and communications,
Elliot Schrage
, took the blame.

“Responsibility for these decisions rests with leadership of the
Communications team,” Schrage said in a memo. “That’s me. Mark
[Zuckerberg] and Sheryl [Sandberg] relied on me to manage this
without controversy.”

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