Earlier this month, an extensively reported New York Times article described how CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sandberg downplayed internal efforts to assess Russia’s misinformation campaigns, and then tried to deflect public scrutiny onto Facebook’s competitors instead.
The report added that even as Facebook claimed some criticism of the company was anti-Semitic, a controversial PR firm it worked with was trying to plant the idea that Soros — himself a frequent target of anti-Semitic attacks — was behind the growing anti-Facebook movement.
For her part, Sandberg responded by saying some of the allegations were “simply untrue” but acknowledged that the company was “too slow” to respond to the Russian interference on the site. On Soros, Sandberg said she wasn’t aware that Facebook had hired the PR firm or the work it was doing. “I have great respect for George Soros — and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against him are abhorrent,” she added.
Last week, Facebook’s outgoing head of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage, reportedly took the blame for hiring the PR firm Definers Public Affairs.
In response to the most recent Times article, Facebook told the newspaper that Sandberg takes responsibility for “any activity that happened on her watch,” but it added that she did not direct Definers’ investigation into members of an anti-Facebook group called Freedom from Facebook.