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Facebook Drops Shady PR Firm It Used to Attempt to Discredit Critics
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=46811"><span class="small">Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica</span></a>   
Thursday, 15 November 2018 13:48

Lee writes: "Facebook has cut ties with a conservative public relations group called Definers hours after a Wednesday New York Times story revealed that the group had circulated a document linking some of Facebook's left-wing critics to liberal billionaire George Soros."

Mark Zuckerberg. (photo: Getty)
Mark Zuckerberg. (photo: Getty)


Facebook Drops Shady PR Firm It Used to Attempt to Discredit Critics

By Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica

15 November 18


A New York Times expose reveals how Facebook sought to discredit critics.

acebook has cut ties with a conservative public relations group called Definers hours after a Wednesday New York Times story revealed that the group had circulated a document linking some of Facebook's left-wing critics to liberal billionaire George Soros.

According to the Times, Facebook initially hired Definers to help the tech company monitor media coverage of Facebook. But in October 2017, Definers started to play an active role in defending Facebook.

"A conservative website called NTK Network began publishing stories defending Facebook and criticizing Facebook rivals like Google," the Times reports. "NTK is an affiliate of Definers."

Definers, whose Silicon Valley office is headed by former Jeb Bush spokesman Tim Miller, also began circulating a document to reporters (in the words of the Times) "casting Mr. Soros, the billionaire liberal donor, as the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement."

According to the Times, "Definers pressed reporters to explore the financial connections between Mr. Soros and groups that had criticized Facebook." Soros' Open Society Foundation has funded a wide variety of liberal groups, but it says that it has not made any grants specifically to support anti-Facebook campaigns.

The revelation has infuriated liberals who admire Soros and consider criticism of him to be anti semitic. The liberal podcaster Jon Favreau has counted Miller as a regular guest on his podcast, but he wrote Wednesday evening that Miller "won't be contributing" pending details of the Definers campaign against Soros.

Wednesday's Times story also reported that Facebook portrayed some of its own left-wing critics as anti-Semitic. At a July congressional hearing, protestors held up signs depicting a two-headed octopus with tentacles circling the globe. The octopuses two heads were those of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. According to the Times, Facebook brought this sign to the attention of the Anti-Defamation League.

"Depicting Jews as an octopus encircling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope," the ADL tweeted from its Twitter account. "Protest Facebook—or anyone—all you want, but pick a different image."

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