Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has previously said that she was unaware of a public relations firm’s opposition research on George Soros. However, BuzzFeed News reports it was recently provided with emails—confirmed by Facebook itself—that show the opposite is true.
The timeline shows Sandberg totally denying awareness, later admitting to seeing the PR firm’s name in internal communications, and now this. According to new information, Sandberg not only knew about the research being done, but also requested it herself. She asked Definers Public Affairs to look into Soros after he said the social media platform was a “menace” to society. Instead of reading any of the news articles about the role it played in the 2016 election, the impact it’s had on spreading hate domestically and even internationally, Facebook called the claims “unfair.” The company assumed Soros had something personal to gain from his comments.
That’s when Sandberg gave Definers a directive to research the philanthropist’s investments and financial interests, wanting to prove its theory that opposing grassroots organizations were being funded by wealthy figures such as Soros. A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed news the following about the matter:
We researched potential motivations behind George Soros’s criticism of Facebook in January 2018. Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook. 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. But as she said before she takes full responsibility for any activity that happened on her watch.
Zuckerberg himself, meanwhile, said he hadn’t heard of Definers before reading a report from the New York Times about his company’s misstep.
Conservatives have had a target painted on Soros’ back for quite awhile now. Right-wing conspiracists such as Donald Trump have blamed Soros for the migrant caravan, Colin Kaepernick taking a knee and even paying protesters during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing. The Jewish Holocaust survivor deals with hate campaigns so fiercely absurd that he received a mail bomb at his home address last month.
Just like those theories, Facebook’s research into Soros’ financial dealings has proven dangerous and baseless. Sandberg, also Jewish, says that “the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against him are abhorrent,” but her actions, and her company, are fueling the hate rhetoric. It’s time to quit Facebook once and for all.