Facebook has been exposed as utter garbage yet again. The company allegedly hired a political research firm to spread a conspiracy theory about its critics. And yes, the conspiracy theory reportedly involves George Soros.
The New York Times has the bombshell new story about the way that Facebook has conducted damage control in the wake of reports about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And the enormous story includes this interesting tidbit [emphasis ours]:
While Mr. Zuckerberg conducted a public apology tour in the last year, Ms. [Sheryl] Sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat Facebook’s critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
According to the report, Facebook “used Definers,” an oppo research firm, “to take on bigger opponents, such as Mr. Soros.” The story describes a “research document” circulated by the oppo firm as having “cast Mr. Soros as the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement.”
George Soros, as you might recall, had a pipe bomb sent to his home very recently. President Donald Trump, a man who’s literally too dumb to be president, has also named George Soros as being part of a shady conspiracy to harm America.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment about its reported hiring of Definers to spread an anti-semitic conspiracy theory. But that’s precisely what the George Soros meme is all about. It’s anti-semitic bullshit.
You can read the entire New York Times article over on its website, including details about groups like Definers and America Rising.
Facebook is already a terrible social media network. But it’s certainly interesting to discover that, according to the Times, it’s actively making the world worse by directly spreading nonsense that it pays for. Do us all a favor, Zuck. Shut down Facebook tonight. The world would be a much better place.
Update, 5:00am: The New York Times changed a single word in its story from “persuading” to “lobbying.”
The article used to read:
It also tapped its business relationships, persuading a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
The article now reads:
It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.
Facebook has also posted a rebuttal to the New York Times piece on its website. Some of that response is below:
Lastly we wanted to address the issue of Definers, who we ended our contract with last night. The New York Times is wrong to suggest that we ever asked Definers to pay for or write articles on Facebook’s behalf – or to spread misinformation. Our relationship with Definers was well known by the media – not least because they have on several occasions sent out invitations to hundreds of journalists about important press calls on our behalf. Definers did encourage members of the press to look into the funding of “Freedom from Facebook,” an anti-Facebook organization. The intention was to demonstrate that it was not simply a spontaneous grassroots campaign, as it claimed, but supported by a well-known critic of our company. To suggest that this was an anti-Semitic attack is reprehensible and untrue.
We’ve acknowledged publicly on many occasions – including before Congress – that we were too slow to spot Russian interference on Facebook, as well as other misuse. But in the two years since the 2016 Presidential election, we’ve invested heavily in more people and better technology to improve safety and security on our services. While we still have a long way to go, we’re proud of the progress we have made in fighting misinformation, removing bad content and preventing foreign actors from manipulating our platform.
You can read Facebook’s entire statement here.