Last week, we published an article based on a New York Times report that claimed that Facebook had hired a PR firm to push conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros, a major funder of liberal and pro-democratic causes and an outspoken critic of Facebook.
The report had accused Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, of leading the charge against Soros, claiming that she had asked Facebook employees to examine George Soros’s finances after he criticized the social media giant in a speech at the World Economic Forum. During the speech, Soros had described the company as a “menace” to society and called for regulations.
Now a new report is sharing more incriminating details on Sandberg’s involvement. NYT says that “three people with knowledge” have confirmed that Facebook’s second in command had asked Facebook’s communications staff to research George Soros’s financial interests. The source claims that the request was made in an email to a senior executive in January, which was forwarded to other senior communications and policy staff.
The email asked for an examination into what could have motivated Soros to criticize Facebook and whether he was to benefit financially from the attacks.
Facebook later hired a Washington DC-based political consultancy founded by Republican operatives called Definers Public Affairs, which specializes in opposition research.
Definers Public Affairs then assembled and disseminated information about Soros’s financial involvement with American advocacy groups critical of Facebook to reporters.
In a statement, Facebook said that it was already researching Soros when Sandberg emailed her request. “That research was already underway when Sheryl sent an email asking if Mr. Soros had shorted Facebook’s stock,” the company said.
“Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook.”
The report also said that “the people with knowledge of Ms. Sandberg’s email asked for anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the message and feared retribution.”