Sheryl Sandberg said to have asked Facebook staff to research Soros

Sheryl Sandberg said to have asked Facebook staff to research Soros

Sheryl Sandberg said to have asked Facebook staff to research Soros

Facebook has admitted that its chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, specifically requested opposition research on the billionaire philanthropist George Soros after he criticised the company in a public speech.

Earlier today The New York Times reported Sandberg had been prompted into action after Soros criticized tech companies. The email came within days of a blistering speech Soros delivered that month at the World Economic Forum, attacking Facebook and Google as a "menace" to society and calling for the companies to be regulated. Sandberg reportedly wanted to know whether Soros stood to benefit financially from attacks on the tech mammoths.

Facebook said the company was already researching Soros when Sandberg sent an email asking if Soros had shorted Facebook stock. "Facebook must immediately release any emails and any research about targeting the Freedom from Facebook coalition or any member organizations". "Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook", a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable.

The social media giant acknowledged in a response to the Times and Buzzfeed stories that Sandberg asked subordinates to determine if Soros was betting against Facebook by shorting the company's stock.

Facebook ended its contract with Definers after The New York Times published an investigation on how the social network's executives dealt with crisis. The spokesperson maintained that Sandberg had not directed the PR firm to investigate Soros' ties with activist groups, but added that "she takes full responsibility for any activity that happened on her watch".

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"Responsibility for these decisions rests with leadership of the Communications team", Schrage said in a memo.

Author of the feminist bestseller "Lean In", Sandberg also drew attention in 2015 after the sudden death of her husband David Goldberg at age 47.

During Sandberg's meeting with Color of Change, she said Facebook will devote the resources needed to execute the civil rights audit and address the findings of it, according to Color of Change.

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

At the time, Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg were conducting damage control over the company's ongoing controversies, from compromised user data to its involvement in the 2016 presidential election to the perpetuation of hate campaigns in Myanmar. But when he pushed for more on Facebook's involvement with Definers, Robinson said, Sandberg kept stressing that Facebook had fired the firm.

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