Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Soros group slams Facebook, calling it ‘active in promoting’ hate and misinformation

Soros group slams Facebook, calling it ‘active in promoting’ hate and misinformation

Under pressure to soothe Wall Street and Washington, CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered some questions about the investigation squarely, but he struggled to answer others.

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Facebook, one of a handful of tech giants known for a measured and often silent approach to communications, has vehemently hit back at a New York Times article that reported how its leadership team struggled to contain manifold scandals over the past two years. Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. Given the revelations about how the company handled 2016 election interference, a full and public disclosure is required.

Since the 2016 elections, Facebook has launched several "transparency" initiatives over the past year.

In a letter addressed to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the president of Soros' Open Society Foundations denounced Facebook's alleged actions and asked to speak with Sandberg in person. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. I looked into whether this was the kind of firm we should be working with.

I was shocked to learn from the New York Times that you and your colleagues at Facebook hired a Republican opposition research firm to stir up animus toward George Soros.

Zuckerberg also defended his key lieutenant, Sandberg.

Zuckerberg said he was not aware of the role of the firm and learned about it from the Times article.

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"As with numerous biggest challenges we face, there isn't broad agreement on the right approach, and thoughtful people come to very different conclusions on what are acceptable tradeoffs", Zuckerberg wrote.

The company has repeatedly admitted it had not done enough to prevent the spread of fake news and political manipulation on its site, which executives repeated on Thursday through multiple press statements and on a call with reporters.

The purge included more than 1.5 billion fake accounts from April through September, according to the company's report on community standards enforcement.

When asked whether this was evidence that he does not have sufficient control over the company, Zuckerberg said that it is natural to lack some knowledge of operations in a company with tens of thousands of employees. "We also saw some new behavior when [Russia-linked group] APT28-related accounts, under the banner of DC Leaks, created fake personas that were used to seed stolen information to journalists".

"It's been disappointing to see how [Facebook leaders] have failed to monitor hate and misinformation on Facebook's platform".

Gaspard said he was "shocked" by the report. Many corporate governance experts said it's an inherent conflict of interest for a CEO to also be chairman. "I just think that is part of the reality of running a company", he said.

The social network said it is making strides in proactively identifying hate speech, saying it's able to remove the majority of posts before users report them. "We knew that already, but the report should remove any lingering doubts".

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