Facepalm moment for Facebook: Secret business for criminals critics


NEW DELHI: Since the outbreak of Russia's scandal that has mixed up in the US elections through Facebook has erupted, the company faced one problem after another. The Cambridge Analytica scandal put it in defense, and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had to testify before Congress and apologize. Now another revelation has hit the giant of social media.

The New York Times revealed a few days ago that Facebook hired a PR company that wrote negative articles about Apple's and Google's opponents and also tried to discredit the critics of the company.

According to the report, Facebook expanded its relationship with Public Horizons in October 2017 after an external critique of handling the Russian transponder in the Facebook election. Defensers Public Affairs writes articles criticizing Google and Apple and degrading the impact of Russian intervention on Facebook. These articles were published in NTK Network, a website linked to the company. Horizons also spread the idea that liberal financier George Soros was behind a growing anti-Facebook movement to discredit activists.

Defenders released a research paper in the summer, Soros, the billionaire liberal donor, as the unrecognized force behind what appears to be a widespread anti-Facebook movement, according to the NYT report. Defenters pressed journalists to investigate the financial relationship between Soros and the groups that had criticized Facebook, he said. Facebook also pressed a Jewish political rights group to accuse some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has denied these allegations and immediately ended its ties with Defenders. "I did not know that we recruited them or for the work they were doing, but I should have had," he said.

However, Sandberg's comment, shifting responsibility to its staff, caused dissatisfaction among those handling the communications department of the company.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Facebook communication workers are smokers at Sandberg, accusing them of dropping them under the bus for the Defender scandal. Many people in groups under the Sandberg watch were angry at Sandberg's comments because Sandberg handled Facebook's media strategy closely and even personally involved in drafting changes, according to the WSJ report.