Sheryl Sandberg Asked Facebook Staff to Investigate George Soros in January

Facebook has acknowledged that COO Sheryl Sandberg requested in January that employees investigate whether billionaire George Soros criticized the company in an effort to enrich himself.

“We researched potential motivations behind George Soros’s criticism of Facebook in January 2018. Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook,” a Facebook representative said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “That research was already underway when Sheryl sent an email asking if Mr. Soros had shorted Facebook’s stock. Sheryl never directed research on Freedom from Facebook. But as she said before she takes full responsibility for any activity that happened on her watch.”

The statement follows a New York Times report Thursday night that Sandberg’s request came after a speech by Soros at the World Economic Forum, in which he called for companies like Facebook and Google to be regulated by the government. According to the times, Sandberg emailed subordinates asking them to find out if Soros’s criticism was motivated by financial interests.

Also Read: Facebook Has a ‘Black People Problem,’ Former Manager Says

The line of investigation requested in January by Sandberg has parallels to a campaign conducted by conservative political consulting firm Definers on Facebook’s behalf over the last year. The firm, hired by Facebook in 2017, targeted both competitors and critics and included efforts to tie protesters to Soros that some have condemned as antisemitic. The campaign was exposed in a New York Times report earlier this month, after which Facebook quickly cut all ties with Definers.

At the time, Sandberg denied knowing anything about Facebook’s relationship with Definers and specifically said “I have great respect for George Soros – and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against him are abhorrent.”

But last week, Sandberg said in a statement that over the last year “some of their work was incorporated into materials presented to me and I received a small number of emails where Definers was referenced.”

Also Read: Facebook Documents, Emails Seized by British Parliament in Cambridge Analytica Probe

In her statement, Sandberg did not address whether or not she had asked anyone to investigate Soros, but did say “it was never anyone’s intention to play into an anti-Semitic narrative against Mr. Soros or anyone else. Being Jewish is a core part of who I am and our company stands firmly against hate. The idea that our work has been interpreted as anti-Semitic is abhorrent to me — and deeply personal.”

Facebook’s outgoing global communications chief Elliot Schrage has taken full responsibility for both hiring Definers and the subsequent campaign against Soros, though he said Facebook did not ask Definers “to distribute or create fake news.” The Times did not report that Facebook made such a request.

Sean Burch contributed to this report.

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Facebook has acknowledged that COO Sheryl Sandberg requested in January that employees investigate whether billionaire George Soros criticized the company in an effort to enrich himself.

“We researched potential motivations behind George Soros’s criticism of Facebook in January 2018. Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook,” a Facebook representative said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “That research was already underway when Sheryl sent an email asking if Mr. Soros had shorted Facebook’s stock. Sheryl never directed research on Freedom from Facebook. But as she said before she takes full responsibility for any activity that happened on her watch.”

The statement follows a New York Times report Thursday night that Sandberg’s request came after a speech by Soros at the World Economic Forum, in which he called for companies like Facebook and Google to be regulated by the government. According to the times, Sandberg emailed subordinates asking them to find out if Soros’s criticism was motivated by financial interests.

The line of investigation requested in January by Sandberg has parallels to a campaign conducted by conservative political consulting firm Definers on Facebook’s behalf over the last year. The firm, hired by Facebook in 2017, targeted both competitors and critics and included efforts to tie protesters to Soros that some have condemned as antisemitic. The campaign was exposed in a New York Times report earlier this month, after which Facebook quickly cut all ties with Definers.

At the time, Sandberg denied knowing anything about Facebook’s relationship with Definers and specifically said “I have great respect for George Soros – and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against him are abhorrent.”

But last week, Sandberg said in a statement that over the last year “some of their work was incorporated into materials presented to me and I received a small number of emails where Definers was referenced.”

In her statement, Sandberg did not address whether or not she had asked anyone to investigate Soros, but did say “it was never anyone’s intention to play into an anti-Semitic narrative against Mr. Soros or anyone else. Being Jewish is a core part of who I am and our company stands firmly against hate. The idea that our work has been interpreted as anti-Semitic is abhorrent to me — and deeply personal.”

Facebook’s outgoing global communications chief Elliot Schrage has taken full responsibility for both hiring Definers and the subsequent campaign against Soros, though he said Facebook did not ask Definers “to distribute or create fake news.” The Times did not report that Facebook made such a request.

Sean Burch contributed to this report.

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Reportedly Asked Staff to Research George Soros

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is under fire following a New York Times report alleging she asked Facebook staff to conduct opposition research into philanthropist George Soros. The Times cites three sources who say Sandberg asked Facebook’s commun…

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is under fire following a New York Times report alleging she asked Facebook staff to conduct opposition research into philanthropist George Soros. The Times cites three sources who say Sandberg asked Facebook’s communications staff, in an email in January, to look into Soros’ financial interests after Soros spoke out against tech companies. […]

Facebook’s “Rigid And Insular” Management Style Cited By Analyst; Price Target Slashed But “Buy” Rating Intact

Facebook’s “rigid and insular management style could lead to a long road to recovery” for the beleaguered social network, according to a new research note by Scott Devitt, an analyst at Stifel Financial.
Devitt lowered his 12-month pr…

Facebook’s “rigid and insular management style could lead to a long road to recovery” for the beleaguered social network, according to a new research note by Scott Devitt, an analyst at Stifel Financial. Devitt lowered his 12-month price target on the company’s stock to $150 from $186, but reiterated a “buy” rating on Facebook stock. “If Facebook is able to get through 2019 without further reputational or business damage, visibility into 2020 could present a better setup…

Mark Zuckerberg Says He Has No Plans to Resign as Facebook Chairman

Mark Zuckerberg says he’s not going anywhere. In an interview with CNN that aired Tuesday evening, the embattled Facebook chief, when asked if he would step aside as chairman, replied, “That’s not the plan.” Critics of the socia…

Mark Zuckerberg says he’s not going anywhere. In an interview with CNN that aired Tuesday evening, the embattled Facebook chief, when asked if he would step aside as chairman, replied, “That’s not the plan.” Critics of the social giant have stepped up calls for Zuckerberg to resign following an explosive report by the New York […]

Facebook’s Outgoing Communication Boss Takes Blame for Hiring Consulting Firm That Attacked Competitors, Critics (Report)

A week after a New York Times report led Facebook to cut ties with conservative-leaning political consulting firm Definers, Facebook’s outgoing global communications vice president has taken the blame for hiring the outfit.

“Responsibility for these decisions rests with leadership of the Communications team. That’s me,” wrote Elliot Schrage in an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch.

The Times reported a week ago that Facebook used the research firm to target competitors and critics over the last year. The campaign included trying to tie protesters to financier George Soros.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Says Stepping Down From Facebook ‘Not the Plan’

Schrage, who described hiring Definers as a political necessity following the 2016 election, said in the memo that his team did indeed ask the firm to investigate Soros’ involvement in “Freedom from Facebook,” an effort to encourage people to stop using the platform. Definers concluded Soros funded “several of the coalition members,” Schrage said. Soros, through a spokesperson, told the Times last week that he has never specifically funded any activity against Facebook.

Schrage said also that he requested Definers target Facebook’s competition.

In the memo, Schrage also said Facebook did not ask Definers “to distribute or create fake news.” The Times did not report that Facebook made such a request, but it did say Definers promoted or disseminated articles and op-eds critical of companies and people who spoke out against Facebook.

Also Read: Facebook’s Betrayal of Trust: The Fallout Begins

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied any prior knowledge of his company’s relationship with Definers, and said he learned about it from The Times’ report. In his memo, Schrage backed Zuckerberg, stating neither he nor COO Sheryl Sandberg were involved with hiring Definers. “Mark and Sheryl relied on me to manage this without controversy,” said Schrage.

In a follow-up memo, also obtained by TechCrunch, Sandberg thanked Schrage, but clarified that she oversees Facebook’s communications teams, and takes “full responsibility for their work and the PR firms who work with us.”

Schrage announced earlier this year that he intended to resign from Facebook. The company hired Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, to replace Schrage in October.

Also Read: Washington Post Media Critic Calls on Mark Zuckerberg to Step Down

Facebook and Definers did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap.

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A week after a New York Times report led Facebook to cut ties with conservative-leaning political consulting firm Definers, Facebook’s outgoing global communications vice president has taken the blame for hiring the outfit.

“Responsibility for these decisions rests with leadership of the Communications team. That’s me,” wrote Elliot Schrage in an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch.

The Times reported a week ago that Facebook used the research firm to target competitors and critics over the last year. The campaign included trying to tie protesters to financier George Soros.

Schrage, who described hiring Definers as a political necessity following the 2016 election, said in the memo that his team did indeed ask the firm to investigate Soros’ involvement in “Freedom from Facebook,” an effort to encourage people to stop using the platform. Definers concluded Soros funded “several of the coalition members,” Schrage said. Soros, through a spokesperson, told the Times last week that he has never specifically funded any activity against Facebook.

Schrage said also that he requested Definers target Facebook’s competition.

In the memo, Schrage also said Facebook did not ask Definers “to distribute or create fake news.” The Times did not report that Facebook made such a request, but it did say Definers promoted or disseminated articles and op-eds critical of companies and people who spoke out against Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied any prior knowledge of his company’s relationship with Definers, and said he learned about it from The Times’ report. In his memo, Schrage backed Zuckerberg, stating neither he nor COO Sheryl Sandberg were involved with hiring Definers. “Mark and Sheryl relied on me to manage this without controversy,” said Schrage.

In a follow-up memo, also obtained by TechCrunch, Sandberg thanked Schrage, but clarified that she oversees Facebook’s communications teams, and takes “full responsibility for their work and the PR firms who work with us.”

Schrage announced earlier this year that he intended to resign from Facebook. The company hired Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, to replace Schrage in October.

Facebook and Definers did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap.

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Outgoing Facebook Comms Chief Elliot Schrage Takes Blame For Hiring DC Firm

Facebook has found its fall guy.
The company’s outgoing head of public policy, Elliot Schrage, took the blame for the controversial decision to hire the Washington, D.C., opposition research firm that pushed negative narratives about competitors …

Facebook has found its fall guy. The company’s outgoing head of public policy, Elliot Schrage, took the blame for the controversial decision to hire the Washington, D.C., opposition research firm that pushed negative narratives about competitors and sought to portray billionaire George Soros as quietly bankrolling the company’s critics. “Responsibility for these decisions rests with leadership of the communications team. That's me,” Schrage wrote tonight in a memo obtained…

Mark Zuckerberg Says Stepping Down From Facebook ‘Not the Plan’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that neither he nor COO Sheryl Sandberg plan to resign in response to the New York Times’ bombshell expose about how the tech giant has handled a series of PR crises since Russian interference in the 2016 election became known.

“That’s not the plan,” Zuckerberg told CNN Business host Laurie Segall in an interview on Tuesday when asked if he planned to step down as chairman.

“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts for a lot of the biggest issues that we have,” he said about Sandberg. “She’s been an important partner to me for ten years. I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”

Also Read: Sheryl Sandberg Says Facebook ‘Absolutely Did Not’ Pay Anyone to Create Fake News

Zuckerberg’s support for Sandberg comes nearly a week after the Times reported that his company failed to move quickly enough in response to the discovery that Russian agents were using their platform to influence a U.S. presidential election. The Times also reported that Facebook had hired an outside firm to dig up dirt on rival tech companies and company critics in an attempt to deflect heat from the scandal.

In a 90-minute phone call with reporters the day after the Times report was published, Zuckerberg said he was not aware of Facebook’s involvement with the Republican-associated political firm Definers.

“Me personally, I didn’t know we were working with them,” Zuckerberg said. “This is not the type of work that I want us to be doing so we won’t be doing it.”

Also Read: Facebook’s Betrayal of Trust: The Fallout Begins

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg disputed the accuracy of the Times story and said he believed the company had made good progress toward responding to some of the vulnerabilities exploited by the Russian government two years ago.

“There are big issues, and I’m not trying to say that there aren’t,” he said. “But I do think that sometimes, you can get the flavor from some of the coverage that that’s all there is, and I don’t think that that’s right either.”

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Sheryl Sandberg Says Facebook ‘Absolutely Did Not’ Pay Anyone to Create Fake News

Facebook’s Betrayal of Trust: The Fallout Begins

Mark Zuckerberg ‘Didn’t Know’ Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that neither he nor COO Sheryl Sandberg plan to resign in response to the New York Times’ bombshell expose about how the tech giant has handled a series of PR crises since Russian interference in the 2016 election became known.

“That’s not the plan,” Zuckerberg told CNN Business host Laurie Segall in an interview on Tuesday when asked if he planned to step down as chairman.

“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts for a lot of the biggest issues that we have,” he said about Sandberg. “She’s been an important partner to me for ten years. I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”

Zuckerberg’s support for Sandberg comes nearly a week after the Times reported that his company failed to move quickly enough in response to the discovery that Russian agents were using their platform to influence a U.S. presidential election. The Times also reported that Facebook had hired an outside firm to dig up dirt on rival tech companies and company critics in an attempt to deflect heat from the scandal.

In a 90-minute phone call with reporters the day after the Times report was published, Zuckerberg said he was not aware of Facebook’s involvement with the Republican-associated political firm Definers.

“Me personally, I didn’t know we were working with them,” Zuckerberg said. “This is not the type of work that I want us to be doing so we won’t be doing it.”

On Tuesday, Zuckerberg disputed the accuracy of the Times story and said he believed the company had made good progress toward responding to some of the vulnerabilities exploited by the Russian government two years ago.

“There are big issues, and I’m not trying to say that there aren’t,” he said. “But I do think that sometimes, you can get the flavor from some of the coverage that that’s all there is, and I don’t think that that’s right either.”

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Sheryl Sandberg Says Facebook 'Absolutely Did Not' Pay Anyone to Create Fake News

Facebook's Betrayal of Trust: The Fallout Begins

Mark Zuckerberg 'Didn't Know' Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

Apple, Netflix’s Wall Street Pain Continues as Stock Market’s Yearly Gains Are Erased

The U.S. stock market’s pre-Thanksgiving decline continued on Tuesday, with prominent tech and media companies like Netflix and Apple unable to escape the recent downturn that has erased Wall Street’s 2018 gains.
All three major indexes end…

The U.S. stock market’s pre-Thanksgiving decline continued on Tuesday, with prominent tech and media companies like Netflix and Apple unable to escape the recent downturn that has erased Wall Street’s 2018 gains.

All three major indexes ended in the red on Tuesday, with the S&P 500, Down Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq all dropping more than 1.7 percent. The Dow was hit hardest, falling 551 points and dropping 2.2 percent during the day. The tech sector’s swoon, which started about two months ago, has since extended to the rest of the market. The recent pummeling has wiped out the yearly gains for the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq.

Apple, the world’s richest company, wasn’t spared, as shares dropped 4.78 percent to $177 per share after Goldman Sachs lowered its stock price forecast on Tuesday morning. Since posting slightly underwhelming quarterly iPhone sales on Nov. 1, Apple shares have decreased about 20 percent.

Netflix’s rough month didn’t subside, either, with the streaming heavyweight falling another 1.34 percent to $267 per share. It’s been a rollercoaster year for Netflix shareholders: Its shares are down 37 percent from its 52-week high of $423 back in June — but still up 32 percent since the start of the year.

Facebook, after hitting its yearly low on Monday, ticked up slightly, increasing 0.67 percent to $132.43 on Tuesday. The modest gains did little to offset the losses that followed a critical report from The New York Times last week, saying CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were slow to react to multiple issues, including Russian trolls leveraging its platform, in the past two years. Facebook also used opposition research firms to target its critics and competitors, like Apple chief executive Tim Cook, according to the Times — something Zuckerberg said he “didn’t know” about until reading the report. Facebook shares have decreased 8 percent in the last week and are now down 27 percent on the year.

Facebook — hit by the Cambridge Analytica scandal and now tumbling after The New York Times reported the company’s top executives mishandled several issues — has dropped from $181 on January 1 to $132 per share on Tuesday (via Google)

And Amazon, after — according to CNBC — joining the bidding for Disney’s 22 regional sports networks from its Fox acquisition, dropped 1.11 percent to $1,495 per share.

Several factors have contributed to the market’s overall selloff, including uncertainty over China and U.S. trade relations, lingering fears the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates and uninspiring growth from many U.S. companies. Even fringe investments like cryptocurrency have taken a hit recently; the price of a single bitcoin has nosedived in the last month, falling 35 percent to about $4,200 per coin on Tuesday.

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Facebook Stock Shows Toll Of Damaging Revelations, Crisis In Confidence

Damaging revelations about how Facebook’s leaders mishandled Russian efforts to disrupt the 2016 American election are beginning to take a measurable toll, with the company’s stock plunging to a yearly low.
The entire tech sector has been b…

Damaging revelations about how Facebook’s leaders mishandled Russian efforts to disrupt the 2016 American election are beginning to take a measurable toll, with the company’s stock plunging to a yearly low. The entire tech sector has been battered, with members of the FAANG group — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google — down more than 20% from their yearly highs. Facebook is flat in today’s trading session, but it is down nearly 40% from July. Since going public at…

Anti-Facebook Group Offers ‘Safe Space’ for Facebook Whistleblowers

An anti-Facebook group is offering the social network’s employees a “safe space” to blow the whistle on undisclosed company issues.

“Freedom From Facebook,” an activist group that notably protested execs from the tech giant while they testified to Congress last summer, announced a Facebook ad campaign on Tuesday, exclusively targeting company employees “who feel uncomfortable with recent events.”

Facebook has taken a Wall Street hit since the New York Times reported last week the company and its leadership — including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg — were slow to respond to issues like Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

Also Read: Washington Post Media Critic Calls on Mark Zuckerberg to Step Down

Facebook also used Definers, an opposition research firm, to attack critics like Freedom From Facebook — with the firm pushing reporters to investigate a connection between the group and financier George Soros, according to The New York Times. A direct link hasn’t been established between Soros and the group. Zuckerberg said last Thursday he “didn’t know” Facebook was working with Definers until reading the Times report.

Also Read: Sheryl Sandberg Says Facebook ‘Absolutely Did Not’ Pay Anyone to Create Fake News

Freedom From Facebook said its ad “will link to a website where [employees] can securely and anonymously submit whistleblower tips and information via the form on the website or encrypted email.” The group did not reveal how it’s picking Facebook employees to target with its ad campaign or how much it’s spending.

“From within the eye of the Facebook storm, what’s clear as day is that Zuckerberg and Sandberg are incapable of fixing the perpetual onslaught of crises, because they consider them a PR problem — not a problem with their leadership and core business model,” the group said in its announcement.

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the group’s ad campaign.

Facebook shares sunk to their lowest price of 2018 on Monday, closing at $131.55 per share. Shares are up about 0.5 percent during early morning trading on Tuesday.

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Sheryl Sandberg Says Facebook ‘Absolutely Did Not’ Pay Anyone to Create Fake News

Facebook’s Betrayal of Trust: The Fallout Begins

Mark Zuckerberg ‘Didn’t Know’ Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

An anti-Facebook group is offering the social network’s employees a “safe space” to blow the whistle on undisclosed company issues.

“Freedom From Facebook,” an activist group that notably protested execs from the tech giant while they testified to Congress last summer, announced a Facebook ad campaign on Tuesday, exclusively targeting company employees “who feel uncomfortable with recent events.”

Facebook has taken a Wall Street hit since the New York Times reported last week the company and its leadership — including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg — were slow to respond to issues like Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

Facebook also used Definers, an opposition research firm, to attack critics like Freedom From Facebook — with the firm pushing reporters to investigate a connection between the group and financier George Soros, according to The New York Times. A direct link hasn’t been established between Soros and the group. Zuckerberg said last Thursday he “didn’t know” Facebook was working with Definers until reading the Times report.

Freedom From Facebook said its ad “will link to a website where [employees] can securely and anonymously submit whistleblower tips and information via the form on the website or encrypted email.” The group did not reveal how it’s picking Facebook employees to target with its ad campaign or how much it’s spending.

“From within the eye of the Facebook storm, what’s clear as day is that Zuckerberg and Sandberg are incapable of fixing the perpetual onslaught of crises, because they consider them a PR problem — not a problem with their leadership and core business model,” the group said in its announcement.

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the group’s ad campaign.

Facebook shares sunk to their lowest price of 2018 on Monday, closing at $131.55 per share. Shares are up about 0.5 percent during early morning trading on Tuesday.

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Mark Zuckerberg 'Didn't Know' Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

Democratic Senators to Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook’s Retaliation Against Critics May Have Legal Implications

Four Democratic U.S. senators called on Facebook to provide info about the social giant’s reported use of third-party firms to spread “intentionally inflammatory information” about critics. The lawmakers said Facebook’s alleged …

Four Democratic U.S. senators called on Facebook to provide info about the social giant’s reported use of third-party firms to spread “intentionally inflammatory information” about critics. The lawmakers said Facebook’s alleged actions may have violated campaign finance laws or have other legal implications — and suggested government regulation may be needed to rein in the […]

Sheryl Sandberg Says Facebook ‘Absolutely Did Not’ Pay Anyone to Create Fake News

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has that the company has ever paid firms to create fake news targeting its critics and competitors.

“We absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news — that they have assured me was not happening,” Sandberg told “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell. “And again, we’re doing a thorough look into what happened but they have assured me that we were not paying anyone to either write or promote anything that was false. And that’s very important.”

Sandberg’s comments in the interview Thursday night were her first since a The New York Times investigation was published on Wednesday reporting that Definers, a right-leaning opposition research firm, orchestrated disparaging coverage of Facebook critics like Apple CEO Tim Cook and financier George Soros, among others. Soros is a frequent target of right-wing and anti-Semitic attacks for his contributions to liberal causes. Definers, on behalf of Facebook, tied protestors of the company to Soros, according to The Times.

The firm used NTK Network, a site connected to Definers and often picked up by conservative outlets like Breitbart, to publish several stories against Facebook’s prominent detractors. Facebook terminated its relationship with Definers on Thursday.

Also Read: Jim Carrey Sends Crude, Cryptic Message to Mark Zuckerberg in Latest Artwork

Sandberg, echoing Zuckerberg’s response on Thursday, said she “didn’t know” Facebook had hired Definers, but “I should have” in a post on her Facebook page. Zuckerberg had said “someone on our comms team” must’ve hired Definers. She added: “I have great respect for George Soros – and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against him are abhorrent.”

The Times report also painted Zuckerberg and Sandberg as executives that dragged their feet responding to Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Kremlin-linked trolls leveraged the site to publish fake political news and misinformation leading up to the election — misinformation that ultimately hit more than 100 million people, Facebook told Congress last year. The Times said Sandberg was “seething” at one point, after Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, had told the company’s board in 2017 it didn’t have the Russian issue under control yet.

Sandberg, in her Facebook post, said the company was “too slow” to respond to Russian manipulation, but pushed back against the suggestion Facebook execs intentionally overlooked the problem.

“To suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or we wanted to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations, is simply untrue,” Sandberg said. “The allegations saying I personally stood in the way are also just plain wrong. This was an investigation of a foreign actor trying to interfere in our election. Nothing could be more important to me or to Facebook.”

Also Read: Facebook Suspends 115 Accounts for ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior’ Before Elections

Facebook has added to its election defense team in the last year, and has announced thousands of accounts have been deleted this year for spreading misinformation.

Facebook shares dropped 2.5 percent to about $140 on Friday morning. The company was trading at $181 per share when the year started.

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President Trump Blasts ‘Biased Facebook, Google and Twitter’ – on Twitter

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has that the company has ever paid firms to create fake news targeting its critics and competitors.

“We absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news — that they have assured me was not happening,” Sandberg told “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell. “And again, we’re doing a thorough look into what happened but they have assured me that we were not paying anyone to either write or promote anything that was false. And that’s very important.”

Sandberg’s comments in the interview Thursday night were her first since a The New York Times investigation was published on Wednesday reporting that Definers, a right-leaning opposition research firm, orchestrated disparaging coverage of Facebook critics like Apple CEO Tim Cook and financier George Soros, among others. Soros is a frequent target of right-wing and anti-Semitic attacks for his contributions to liberal causes. Definers, on behalf of Facebook, tied protestors of the company to Soros, according to The Times.

The firm used NTK Network, a site connected to Definers and often picked up by conservative outlets like Breitbart, to publish several stories against Facebook’s prominent detractors. Facebook terminated its relationship with Definers on Thursday.

Sandberg, echoing Zuckerberg’s response on Thursday, said she “didn’t know” Facebook had hired Definers, but “I should have” in a post on her Facebook page. Zuckerberg had said “someone on our comms team” must’ve hired Definers. She added: “I have great respect for George Soros – and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against him are abhorrent.”

The Times report also painted Zuckerberg and Sandberg as executives that dragged their feet responding to Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Kremlin-linked trolls leveraged the site to publish fake political news and misinformation leading up to the election — misinformation that ultimately hit more than 100 million people, Facebook told Congress last year. The Times said Sandberg was “seething” at one point, after Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, had told the company’s board in 2017 it didn’t have the Russian issue under control yet.

Sandberg, in her Facebook post, said the company was “too slow” to respond to Russian manipulation, but pushed back against the suggestion Facebook execs intentionally overlooked the problem.

“To suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or we wanted to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations, is simply untrue,” Sandberg said. “The allegations saying I personally stood in the way are also just plain wrong. This was an investigation of a foreign actor trying to interfere in our election. Nothing could be more important to me or to Facebook.”

Facebook has added to its election defense team in the last year, and has announced thousands of accounts have been deleted this year for spreading misinformation.

Facebook shares dropped 2.5 percent to about $140 on Friday morning. The company was trading at $181 per share when the year started.

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Says Reports That She Wasn’t Interested In Russian Interference Are “Simply Untrue”

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg publicly addressed a damaging New York Times report that raised questions about her response to mounting evidence that the social network could be exploited to disrupt elections or to spread hatred and p…

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg publicly addressed a damaging New York Times report that raised questions about her response to mounting evidence that the social network could be exploited to disrupt elections or to spread hatred and propaganda. The executive said she and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have acknowledged, many times, that they were too slow to respond to Russian interference during the 2016 election. But she took issue with the Times report that she…

Facebook Enters Damage Control, Fires D.C. “Oppo” Firm And Holds A Whopper Of A Press Call

Facebook has launched into damage control following a publication of an exposé that highlighted delays, denials and deflection in the company’s handling of Russian interference on the social media platform ahead of the 2016 presidential election….

Facebook has launched into damage control following a publication of an exposé that highlighted delays, denials and deflection in the company’s handling of Russian interference on the social media platform ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The New York Times reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg ignored disturbing warning signs that malicious actors could use the global network to disrupt elections or foment hatred, then sought to hide…

Facebook’s Betrayal of Trust: The Fallout Begins

So let me get this straight.

The wide-eyed billionaires who run Facebook previously claimed they were simply unaware of how their platform was being used by bad people to sway the U.S. presidential election, foment hate and division and contribute to ethnic cleansing abroad.

That’s what they said. But as it turns out, they were delaying. They were denying. They were — what’s the word for it? Oh yes: dishonest.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg ‘Didn’t Know’ Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

And they were watching their stock price — no doubt, very very carefully.

The New York Times’ five-byline, 4,000-word investigation, published on Wednesday, brings hard facts and reporting to the charade we’ve been watching for years.

“As evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled,” the investigation concludes, referring to founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

“Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view,” the Times wrote. “At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.”

Also Read: Facebook Drops Conservative Consulting Firm That Targeted Critics and Competitors

I’ve been ringing the bell about Facebook for some time, after watching in horrified silence as the platform — which once promised to create a business model to promote and support the creators of news content — turned out to be dishonest about that, too. No financial support was ever forthcoming for those who reported the news and partnered with Facebook to share it. It turned out to be the other way around — publishers have to pay Facebook to access their own subscribers — surprise!

Too bad for newsrooms being decimated quarter by quarter.

Also Read: The Confused Ethics of Mark Zuckerberg – Let’s Definitely Not Judge Those Holocaust Deniers

All this rotten fruit falls from the same poisoned tree.

I always thought — and have written — that manchild-CEO Mark Zuckerberg was tone deaf about the serious responsibilities that come with creating and maintaining a platform used as a tool of mass communication among hundreds of millions of people. This summer I pointed out that his lack of a humanities education as a Harvard drop-out was a real problem. In his heart, it seems, he does not accept that his platform gives him massive responsibility. The lip service he has paid publicly was not convincing before Congress, or in interviews like the one this summer with Kara Swisher in which he defended Holocaust deniers’ right to share their lies on Facebook.

So why should we trust this latest remark? “To suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or that we were trying to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue,” he stated today on a press call about Facebook’s latest content standards.

It is also disappointing to learn that Sandberg — beloved for her empathic air, her intellectual polish, her advocacy of women’s leadership — bought into this system.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Is Russia, Trump and Cambridge Analytica’s Useful Idiot

According to the investigation, instead of digging into the alarming revelations of Russian meddling and fake news on the platform in 2016, she chewed out Facebook’s head of security Alex Stamos for embarrassing her in front of the board.

I am particularly offended that we learned in the article that Facebook  — shame! — lobbied “a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic,” and hired hired conservative opposition research experts to launch a counter-information campaign. Definers, the conservative group that reportedly wrote stories slamming Facebook critics, encouraged journalists to look into George Soros’s funding of those groups.

Facebook responded in a blog post: “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.”

But overall, it turns out that Facebook was more worried about appearances and stock price than fixing how the platform was being misused to undermine democracy. It seemed more worried about appearing pro-Democrat than about whether Russia had burrowed its way into our country: “If Facebook implicated Russia further, [advisor Joel] Kaplan said, Republicans would accuse the company of siding with Democrats.”

I called a Facebook spokesman who said he was offended that I said his company’s behavior and statements suggest a betrayal of public trust.

“You’re conflating things in an unhealthy and unproductive way,” Tom Reynolds, of the company’s policy and communications team, told me. “These are important issues. It’s important to be precise.”

“During the spring and summer of 2016, we found Russian hacking activity, we alerted the government, and campaign committees,” he said. “When we learned things, we tried to disclose it as much as possible. Where we can, we share as much information as we can.”

He pointed to tweets by Facebook security chief Alex Stamos spreading the blame for 2016 around to news outlets who reported on the hacked emails.

I asked: Do you think Facebook has a trust problem?

“That’s for other people to decide on,” he said. “We are working around the clock to do a better job when it comes to content moderation, reducing hate speech, reducing bullying . Reduce the bad, amplify the good.”

An admirable goal, to be sure.

So let me get this straight.

The wide-eyed billionaires who run Facebook previously claimed they were simply unaware of how their platform was being used by bad people to sway the U.S. presidential election, foment hate and division and contribute to ethnic cleansing abroad.

That’s what they said. But as it turns out, they were delaying. They were denying. They were — what’s the word for it? Oh yes: dishonest.

And they were watching their stock price — no doubt, very very carefully.

The New York Times’ five-byline, 4,000-word investigation, published on Wednesday, brings hard facts and reporting to the charade we’ve been watching for years.

“As evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled,” the investigation concludes, referring to founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

“Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view,” the Times wrote. “At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.”

I’ve been ringing the bell about Facebook for some time, after watching in horrified silence as the platform — which once promised to create a business model to promote and support the creators of news content — turned out to be dishonest about that, too. No financial support was ever forthcoming for those who reported the news and partnered with Facebook to share it. It turned out to be the other way around — publishers have to pay Facebook to access their own subscribers — surprise!

Too bad for newsrooms being decimated quarter by quarter.

All this rotten fruit falls from the same poisoned tree.

I always thought — and have written — that manchild-CEO Mark Zuckerberg was tone deaf about the serious responsibilities that come with creating and maintaining a platform used as a tool of mass communication among hundreds of millions of people. This summer I pointed out that his lack of a humanities education as a Harvard drop-out was a real problem. In his heart, it seems, he does not accept that his platform gives him massive responsibility. The lip service he has paid publicly was not convincing before Congress, or in interviews like the one this summer with Kara Swisher in which he defended Holocaust deniers’ right to share their lies on Facebook.

So why should we trust this latest remark? “To suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or that we were trying to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue,” he stated today on a press call about Facebook’s latest content standards.

It is also disappointing to learn that Sandberg — beloved for her empathic air, her intellectual polish, her advocacy of women’s leadership — bought into this system.

According to the investigation, instead of digging into the alarming revelations of Russian meddling and fake news on the platform in 2016, she chewed out Facebook’s head of security Alex Stamos for embarrassing her in front of the board.

I am particularly offended that we learned in the article that Facebook  — shame! — lobbied “a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic,” and hired hired conservative opposition research experts to launch a counter-information campaign. Definers, the conservative group that reportedly wrote stories slamming Facebook critics, encouraged journalists to look into George Soros’s funding of those groups.

Facebook responded in a blog post: “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.”

But overall, it turns out that Facebook was more worried about appearances and stock price than fixing how the platform was being misused to undermine democracy. It seemed more worried about appearing pro-Democrat than about whether Russia had burrowed its way into our country: “If Facebook implicated Russia further, [advisor Joel] Kaplan said, Republicans would accuse the company of siding with Democrats.”

I called a Facebook spokesman who said he was offended that I said his company’s behavior and statements suggest a betrayal of public trust.

“You’re conflating things in an unhealthy and unproductive way,” Tom Reynolds, of the company’s policy and communications team, told me. “These are important issues. It’s important to be precise.”

“During the spring and summer of 2016, we found Russian hacking activity, we alerted the government, and campaign committees,” he said. “When we learned things, we tried to disclose it as much as possible. Where we can, we share as much information as we can.”

He pointed to tweets by Facebook security chief Alex Stamos spreading the blame for 2016 around to news outlets who reported on the hacked emails.

I asked: Do you think Facebook has a trust problem?

“That’s for other people to decide on,” he said. “We are working around the clock to do a better job when it comes to content moderation, reducing hate speech, reducing bullying . Reduce the bad, amplify the good.”

An admirable goal, to be sure.

Mark Zuckerberg ‘Didn’t Know’ Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

Mark Zuckerberg said he “didn’t know” Facebook was using a conservative opposition research firm to target its competitors and critics, while speaking on a call with reporters on Thursday.

The Facebook chief said he learned about the company’s work with Definers, a right-leaning political firm, the same way most other people did: reading about it in a report by The New York Times on Wednesday. Definers, on behalf of Facebook, orchestrated disparaging coverage of Apple CEO Tim Cook and financier George Soros — among others — according to the Times.

“Me personally, I didn’t know we were working with them,” Zuckerberg said. “I learned about this reading it in the New York Times yesterday.” Zuckerberg added he got on the phone with his team afterwards and decided to terminate its relationship with Definers.

Also Read: President Trump Blasts ‘Biased Facebook, Google and Twitter’ – on Twitter

Zuckerberg’s unfamiliarity with Definers struck several journalists on the call as odd, since TheWrap and other outlets have received multiple emails from the firm regarding Facebook in the last year.

“This is not the type of work that I want us to be doing so we won’t be doing it,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg didn’t answer whether or not anyone at Facebook would lose their jobs as a result of the Times report.

Also Read: Facebook Video Viewership ‘Still Well Behind YouTube’ but ‘Growing Rapidly’

“In terms of performance and personnel management I just generally don’t talk about that and specific cases of that in public,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s an ongoing process, that’s part of running the company.”

This was a departure from his more forceful approach following the Cambridge Analytica data leak earlier this year. Zuckerberg told Congress in April the leak — which impacted up to 87 million users — was his “mistake” to own. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Zuckerberg did come to the defense of chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday, saying, “Sheryl was also not involved. She learned about this at the same time I did.”

The Times report also touched on Facebook’s response to Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, saying the company’s braintrust moved slowly to thwart the issue. Sandberg was “angry” chief security officer Alex Stamos looked into the issue without approval, according to the Times, because it “left the company exposed legally.”

Also Read: Facebook Removes Louis Farrakhan Video Comparing Jews to Termites: ‘Tier 1 Hate Speech’

Zuckerberg pushed back against that aspect of the Times report on Thursday: “To suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or that we were trying to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue.”

Zuckerberg, later on the call, outlined several steps the company has taken to remove misinformation and networks of accounts spreading fake news. Facebook deleted 1.5 billion fake accounts during the second and third quarter of 2018, according to Zuckerberg.

Also Read: Netflix, Facebook Can’t Escape Wall Street’s Worst Day in Months

The Times report once again put Facebook under scrutiny for its crisis management in recent years. Tech ethicist David Ryan Polger told TheWrap that Zuckerberg and Sandberg are “likely to stay put after the fallout” from the Times report, “just like they stayed put after previous scandals.”

And Facebook’s board has come out in support of the two executives. “As a board we did indeed push them to move faster,” the board said in a statement to Bloomberg. “But to suggest that they knew about Russian interference and either tried to ignore it or prevent investigations into what had happened is grossly unfair.”

The real concern the Times report raises, according to Polger, is whether Zuckerberg’s grip on the company can ever be loosened.

Also Read: WWE’s Alexa Bliss out of Facebook Watch’s ‘Mixed Match Challenge’ Season 2 Premiere Due to Injury

“Instead of focusing on, ‘Should they get fired?,’ the bigger question is, ‘Can they get fired?’ Our relationship to Mark Zuckerberg, in particular, is less like a consumer-CEO and more akin to a citizen-politician relationship,” Polgar said.

He continued: “That makes the inability to fire Zuckerberg because of the how Facebook shares are issued incredibly worrisome. Americans expect their politicians to be held accountable and able to be kicked out of office; likewise, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg need to assure the public that bad behavior has ramifications.”

Zuckerberg, through the company’s two-tiered classes of stock, carries more than 50 percent of the company’s voting rights.

Related stories from TheWrap:

President Trump Blasts ‘Biased Facebook, Google and Twitter’ – on Twitter

Facebook Drops Conservative Consulting Firm That Targeted Critics and Competitors

‘Infuriated’ Mark Zuckerberg Told Facebook Staff to Use Android After Apple CEO’s Diss (Report)

Mark Zuckerberg said he “didn’t know” Facebook was using a conservative opposition research firm to target its competitors and critics, while speaking on a call with reporters on Thursday.

The Facebook chief said he learned about the company’s work with Definers, a right-leaning political firm, the same way most other people did: reading about it in a report by The New York Times on Wednesday. Definers, on behalf of Facebook, orchestrated disparaging coverage of Apple CEO Tim Cook and financier George Soros — among others — according to the Times.

“Me personally, I didn’t know we were working with them,” Zuckerberg said. “I learned about this reading it in the New York Times yesterday.” Zuckerberg added he got on the phone with his team afterwards and decided to terminate its relationship with Definers.

Zuckerberg’s unfamiliarity with Definers struck several journalists on the call as odd, since TheWrap and other outlets have received multiple emails from the firm regarding Facebook in the last year.

“This is not the type of work that I want us to be doing so we won’t be doing it,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg didn’t answer whether or not anyone at Facebook would lose their jobs as a result of the Times report.

“In terms of performance and personnel management I just generally don’t talk about that and specific cases of that in public,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s an ongoing process, that’s part of running the company.”

This was a departure from his more forceful approach following the Cambridge Analytica data leak earlier this year. Zuckerberg told Congress in April the leak — which impacted up to 87 million users — was his “mistake” to own. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

Zuckerberg did come to the defense of chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday, saying, “Sheryl was also not involved. She learned about this at the same time I did.”

The Times report also touched on Facebook’s response to Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, saying the company’s braintrust moved slowly to thwart the issue. Sandberg was “angry” chief security officer Alex Stamos looked into the issue without approval, according to the Times, because it “left the company exposed legally.”

Zuckerberg pushed back against that aspect of the Times report on Thursday: “To suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or that we were trying to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue.”

Zuckerberg, later on the call, outlined several steps the company has taken to remove misinformation and networks of accounts spreading fake news. Facebook deleted 1.5 billion fake accounts during the second and third quarter of 2018, according to Zuckerberg.

The Times report once again put Facebook under scrutiny for its crisis management in recent years. Tech ethicist David Ryan Polger told TheWrap that Zuckerberg and Sandberg are “likely to stay put after the fallout” from the Times report, “just like they stayed put after previous scandals.”

And Facebook’s board has come out in support of the two executives. “As a board we did indeed push them to move faster,” the board said in a statement to Bloomberg. “But to suggest that they knew about Russian interference and either tried to ignore it or prevent investigations into what had happened is grossly unfair.”

The real concern the Times report raises, according to Polger, is whether Zuckerberg’s grip on the company can ever be loosened.

“Instead of focusing on, ‘Should they get fired?,’ the bigger question is, ‘Can they get fired?’ Our relationship to Mark Zuckerberg, in particular, is less like a consumer-CEO and more akin to a citizen-politician relationship,” Polgar said.

He continued: “That makes the inability to fire Zuckerberg because of the how Facebook shares are issued incredibly worrisome. Americans expect their politicians to be held accountable and able to be kicked out of office; likewise, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg need to assure the public that bad behavior has ramifications.”

Zuckerberg, through the company’s two-tiered classes of stock, carries more than 50 percent of the company’s voting rights.

Related stories from TheWrap:

President Trump Blasts 'Biased Facebook, Google and Twitter' – on Twitter

Facebook Drops Conservative Consulting Firm That Targeted Critics and Competitors

'Infuriated' Mark Zuckerberg Told Facebook Staff to Use Android After Apple CEO's Diss (Report)

Facebook Hits Back At New York Times Exposé, Calling Anti-Semitism Charges “Reprehensible And Untrue”

Facebook has hit back at the New York Times, asserting there were a “number of inaccuracies” in the paper’s investigation of how the social media company behaved during the runup to the 2016 election and this year under the Washington…

Facebook has hit back at the New York Times, asserting there were a “number of inaccuracies” in the paper’s investigation of how the social media company behaved during the runup to the 2016 election and this year under the Washington microscope. The Times article is a blockbuster that is…

Facebook Responds to New York Times Exposé: ‘There Are a Number of Inaccuracies’

Facebook is pursuing a PR strategy of insisting that it acted in good faith in responding to scandals over misuse of its platform and data-privacy gaffes, denying some of the assertions in a sweeping New York Times investigation. Facebook early Thursda…

Facebook is pursuing a PR strategy of insisting that it acted in good faith in responding to scandals over misuse of its platform and data-privacy gaffes, denying some of the assertions in a sweeping New York Times investigation. Facebook early Thursday issued a response to a the Times’ Nov. 14 report into the social giant’s […]

Facebook Misses on Revenue Estimates, Posts Massive Q3 Earnings

Facebook, despite missing on Wall Street revenue estimates for the second straight quarter and reporting flat user growth in the U.S.., saw its share price inch higher on Tuesday afternoon, after reporting better-than-anticipated Q3 earnings.
Facebook …

Facebook, despite missing on Wall Street revenue estimates for the second straight quarter and reporting flat user growth in the U.S.., saw its share price inch higher on Tuesday afternoon, after reporting better-than-anticipated Q3 earnings.

Facebook reported earnings of $1.76 per share and revenue of $13.73 billion, easily surpassing analyst earnings estimates of $1.47 per share but narrowly missing on sales estimates of $13.78 billion. Revenue increased 33 percent year-over-year.

The company also reported underwhelming user growth. Monthly active users moved higher, with Facebook adding 40 million MAUs to hit 2.27 billion overall. Daily active users crept upwards as well, hitting 1.49 billion DAUs, compared with 1.47 billion last quarter. Analysts had estimated 1.51 billion DAUs and 2.29 billion MAUs. And most of Facebook’s growth is coming outside the U.S. and Europe — the company’s two most lucrative markets. Facebook remained flat at 185 daily users in North America, and lost 1 million daily active users in Europe.

Shareholders didn’t appear to mind the lukewarm user growth — especially in comparison to smaller competitors like Snap and Twitter recently reporting a drop in users — with Facebook shares increasing about 2 percent in after-hours trading to $149 per share.

“Our community and business continue to grow quickly, and now more than 2 billion people use at least one of our services every day,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “We’re building the best services for private messaging and stories, and there are huge opportunities ahead in video and commerce as well.”

Facebook declined to share specifics on Instagram’s user and sales growth.

It’s been a turbulent three months since Facebook last reported earnings.The company reported in July the dreaded combo of uninspiring user growth and a miss on Wall Street’s revenue expectations. (Facebook, even missing analyst estimates, posted its best quarterly revenue in its history.) The company’s stock, which had recovered from its Cambridge Analytica swoon earlier in the year, has since dropped about 20 percent, trading below $147 per share as markets closed on Tuesday. Facebook shares are down more than 15 percent since the start of 2018.

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company made a concerted media push to quell fears it was unable to securely protect user data. Those efforts were punctured earlier this month, when Facebook announced a breach of its security system. The breach left 30 million users vulnerable to having profile information lifted — including their contact information, location and recent search history.
The social network’s defense against fake news has also been tested in recent months. Facebook announced in August it had removed hundreds of accounts tied to Iran and Russia for spreading political misinformation. Another 82 Iranian-tied accounts — spreading fake news on a myriad of topics from immigration to President Trump to Colin Kaepernick — were deleted last week, the company announced.

The company will hold a conference call at 5 p.m ET to discuss its earnings.

More to come…

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Facebook VP’s Appearance at Kavanaugh Hearing Sparks Internal Turmoil

A Facebook executive’s conspicuous appearance behind Brett Kavanaugh during his testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee last week has confused and angered hundreds of the social network’s employees, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s VP of global public policy, was in attendance to support his “good friend,” the Wall Street Journal reported, as Kavanaugh adamantly denied he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford while they were in high school. Kaplan was seated only a few rows behind Kavanaugh, which incensed many Facebook employees and caused them to vent about the appearance on the company’s internal messaging system.

“Yes, Joel, we see you,” one programmer wrote, according to the New York Times.

Also Read: Facebook Taps Longtime Exec Adam Mosseri as Next Instagram Chief (Report)

“Let’s assume for a minute that our VP of Policy understands how senate hearings work,” the same employee wrote. “His seat choice was intentional, knowing full well that journalists would identify every public figure appearing behind Kavanaugh. He knew that this would cause outrage internally, but he knew that he couldn’t get fired for it. This was a protest against our culture, and a slap in the face to his fellow employees.”

The uproar has forced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to weigh in. Zuckerberg told employees last Friday at its weekly all-hands meeting he wouldn’t have made the same choice, but that Kaplan hadn’t broken any company rules, according to the WSJ. That explanation was “painful to hear,” according to the NYT, for many employees who felt that Zuckerberg was underestimating Ford’s sexual assault claims.

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter. “Our leadership team recognizes that they’ve made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we’re grateful for all the feedback from our employees,” Facebook spokeswoman Roberta Thomson told the NYT on Thursday.

Also Read: How ABC News’ ‘Selfie-Style’ Reporting is Breaking the TV News Model

“I’ve talked to Joel about why I think it was a mistake for him to attend given his role in the company,” Sandberg wrote on the company’s internal message board, according to the WSJ. “We support people’s right to do what they want in their personal time but this was by no means a straight-forward case.”

Kaplan also responded to the internal protests. He apologized to the staff in a note last Friday, according to the NYT, and said he’d known the Kavanaugh family for 20 years. “I believe in standing by your friends, especially when times are tough for them,” Kaplan wrote in the memo.

A confirmation vote on Kavanaugh could come as early as Saturday.

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A Facebook executive’s conspicuous appearance behind Brett Kavanaugh during his testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee last week has confused and angered hundreds of the social network’s employees, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s VP of global public policy, was in attendance to support his “good friend,” the Wall Street Journal reported, as Kavanaugh adamantly denied he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford while they were in high school. Kaplan was seated only a few rows behind Kavanaugh, which incensed many Facebook employees and caused them to vent about the appearance on the company’s internal messaging system.

“Yes, Joel, we see you,” one programmer wrote, according to the New York Times.

“Let’s assume for a minute that our VP of Policy understands how senate hearings work,” the same employee wrote. “His seat choice was intentional, knowing full well that journalists would identify every public figure appearing behind Kavanaugh. He knew that this would cause outrage internally, but he knew that he couldn’t get fired for it. This was a protest against our culture, and a slap in the face to his fellow employees.”

The uproar has forced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to weigh in. Zuckerberg told employees last Friday at its weekly all-hands meeting he wouldn’t have made the same choice, but that Kaplan hadn’t broken any company rules, according to the WSJ. That explanation was “painful to hear,” according to the NYT, for many employees who felt that Zuckerberg was underestimating Ford’s sexual assault claims.

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the matter. “Our leadership team recognizes that they’ve made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we’re grateful for all the feedback from our employees,” Facebook spokeswoman Roberta Thomson told the NYT on Thursday.

“I’ve talked to Joel about why I think it was a mistake for him to attend given his role in the company,” Sandberg wrote on the company’s internal message board, according to the WSJ. “We support people’s right to do what they want in their personal time but this was by no means a straight-forward case.”

Kaplan also responded to the internal protests. He apologized to the staff in a note last Friday, according to the NYT, and said he’d known the Kavanaugh family for 20 years. “I believe in standing by your friends, especially when times are tough for them,” Kaplan wrote in the memo.

A confirmation vote on Kavanaugh could come as early as Saturday.

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Senate Intelligence Committee Presses Facebook, Twitter On Regulation, Hammers Google’s Empty Chair

Senators raised the prospect of regulating social media platforms as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg testified this morning about efforts to combat foreign manipulation of their platforms.
Sen. Richard Burr, the chairma…

Senators raised the prospect of regulating social media platforms as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg testified this morning about efforts to combat foreign manipulation of their platforms. Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, commended Facebook and Twitter for dedicating the resources to fight corruption and misuse of their platforms, and their willingness to collaborate with government and law enforcement. But he said…