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Facebook won’t say if it’s cutting ties with Elliot Schrage



Elliot Schrage
Facebook’s Elliot Schrage
with Sheryl Sandberg.


  • Facebook’s outgoing communications boss Elliot Schrage
    has endured a turbulent end to his tenure.
  • He has shouldered responsibility for hiring a PR firm
    that slung mud at Facebook’s rivals and critics —and he also
    got into a fight with an investor.
  • Both Schrage and Facebook have said recently that he
    will stay on as an adviser on special projects.
  • Business Insider asked Facebook four times if it will
    retain Schrage’s services after the Definers affair, but the
    company has refused to answer the question.

Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s outgoing vice president of
communications and public policy, has endured a turbulent end to
his decade-long tenure at the social network.

Part of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s inner circle, his
team has been at the frontline of a chain of scandals, shaping
the Facebook’s response to crises including the Cambridge
Analytica data breach and use of the platform for election

But as well as dealing with the company’s dirty laundry, Schrage
has himself become personally embroiled in two issues in recent
months that have generated headlines for the wrong reasons.

Just this week, Schrage wrote an extraordinary
memo to staff, shouldering responsibility for hiring Definers
Public Affairs
, the PR firm that slung mud at Facebook’s
rivals, going so far as to link critics to liberal billionaire
George Soros — a
move that has struck some as playing into an anti-Semitic
conspiracy theory

It was a stunning mea culpa, in which Schrage said there had been
a systematic failure within his own team. “I built a management
system that relies on the teams to escalate issues if they are
uncomfortable about any project, the value it will provide or the
risks that it creates,” he said. “That system failed here and I’m
sorry I let you all down.”

Read more: Facebook’s policy chief sent this
apology email to a woman who accused him of sexism just days
before he quit

Just five months earlier, Schrage was saying sorry for a
different reason. He apologized to an investor who accused him of
sexism after a confrontation at Facebook’s annual shareholder

Natasha Lamb, a managing partner at Arjuna Capital, said Schrage
dismissed her and said she was “not nice” after she raised
concerns about Facebook’s gender pay gap. He later sent Lamb an email
apologising for his “poor choice of words.”

Will Facebook cut ties with the PR man who became the story?

A day before that email leaked to Business Insider, Schrage announced that he was
leaving Facebook
. He said he would stick around long enough
to recruit his successor.

That job has now gone to Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime
minister of the UK, who has begun work at Facebook’s Brock Street
offices in London before he moves to Silicon Valley early next

But both Schrage and Facebook have said that Schrage will remain
tied to the company as an adviser. “Mark and Sheryl have asked me
to stay to manage the transition and then to stay on as an
advisor to help on particular projects — and I’m happy to help,”
as he said in a Facebook post.

Business Insider has asked Facebook four times this week if it
will retain Schrage’s services as an adviser even after he came
forward to take responsibility for the Definers affair. The
company has not answered our question. Business Insider has also
contacted Schrage for comment.

For now, Schrage’s LinkedIn says he
still works at Facebook and in his memo this week, he was billed
as Facebook’s “outgoing head of communications.” It remains to be
seen if Facebook will totally sever ties with the PR man who
became the story.

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