What’s that noise? It’s the sound of Facebook’s communications team being run over by a bus driven by Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook CEO said on a conference call with reporters on Thursday that someone on the company’s communications team must have hired Definers Public Affairs. A big problem in itself: Zuckerberg also said he only found out the public affairs shop was retained after reading The New York Times’ bombshell report.
Also, if you are CEO of a major company and you learn really bad stuff about your company by reading it in the newspaper, you have a serious problem.— Jessica Guynn (@jguynn) November 15, 2018
Zuckerberg also penned a long note explaining how the platform plans to deal with questionable content. Called "A blueprint for content governance and enforcement," the manifesto details how the company will counteract "borderline content" and create an independent appeals group.
Facebook No. 2 Sheryl Sandberg is also claiming ignorance of Definers’ smear campaign. "I did not know we hired them or about the work they were doing, but I should have," she said in a lengthy Facebook post. "I have great respect for George Soros, and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against him are abhorrent."
Definers’ dirty tricks campaign could be "the straw that breaks the camel’s back" in terms of advertisers walking away from the platform, Rishad Tobaccowala, chief growth officer at Publicis Group told the Times. "Now we know Facebook will do whatever it takes to make money," he said. "They have absolutely no morals."
What is Definers Public Affairs? Both The Times and The Daily Beast have looks behind the curtain at the Washington, DC-based shop, and the opposition research campaigns it conducted on lawmakers who were potentially critical of Facebook.