Sheryl Sandberg asked Facebook’s communications staff to investigate George Soro’s financial interests in the wake of his high-profile attacks on technology companies, according to three people with knowledge of her request, indicating that Facebook’s other commander was directly involved in the social network’s response to the liberal billionaire.
Ms. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, asked for information in an email in January for senior communications and senior executives. The email came within a few days after a blowing speech. Mr Soros delivered that month at the World Economic Forum and attacks Facebook and Google as a “threat” to society and demands that businesses be regulated.
These efforts revealed this month in a New York Times survey that launched a public relations debacle for Ms. Sandberg and Facebook, accused of dealing with anti-Semitic attacks against the billionaire. Facebook quickly kicked Defenders.
The persons with knowledge of Ms Sandberg’s e-mail requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the message and feared retribution.
In a statement, Facebook said that the company had already begun to investigate Mr. Soros when Ms. Sandberg made his request.
“Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked at his investment and trading activities related to Facebook,” said the company. “The survey was already running when Sheryl sent an email that Soros had mapped Facebook’s stock.” The company said that while Ms Sandberg “takes full responsibility for any activity that happened on her watch”, she could not personally direct any research on freedom from Facebook, an anti-Facebook coalition whose members were among the objects of Definer’s later work. “
Revelation Ms. Sandberg’s complicated explanations about her role in Facebook’s decision to employ Definers complicate and attack the social network’s growing legion of critics. Ms. Sandberg initially refused to know that Facebook had hired Definers before confirmed in a post last week that some of the company’s work for Facebook had crossed its desk.
Elliot J. Schrage, who monitored Facebook’s communication law and James Lawler Duggan / Reuters
In that post, Sandberg did not explicitly deny that she had asked for her research on Mr. Soros. Instead, an alternate, who supervised the communications team, took leave, but now, the company, Elliot J. Schrage, leaves the responsibility to employ Definers and initiate Defier’s investigation of Soros. It’s unclear what, if any, involving Ms. Sandberg had the ultimate answer to Mr. Soros.
“We had not heard such criticism from him before and wanted to decide if he had any financial motivation,” Mr. Schrage said about Mr. Soros. “Definers investigated this using public information.”