Facebook’s anti-Semitic smear campaign after privacy scandal

This video about the USA says about itself:

Facebook reportedly used anti-Semitic attacks to discredit its critics

14 November 2018

Criticized for months about how it provides a platform for hate speech,

eg, for the Hitler fans of Dutch neofascist party Nederlandse Volks-Unie (NVU)

Facebook reportedly took a novel approach to answering its attackers: Dabbling in anti-Semitic and extremist speech itself. Facebook and its executives, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, spent the last year and a half trying to protect the company’s reputation by calling in favors from high places and using questionable back channels to manipulate its public narrative, according to a blockbuster new report by the New York Times. But it seems those plans are starting to backfire even more. The report outlines damning allegations that Facebook accused its critics of anti-Semitism, all while it financed groups that peddled notoriously anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on its platform.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘After the data scandal, Facebook had public relations firm smear critics’

When the criticism of Facebook reached its peak earlier this year, an aggressive lobbying operation was set up in the background. The goal: to counter criticism. In the same period [Facebook boss] Mark Zuckerberg was working on his sorry campaign, following the data scandal with Cambridge Analytica.

This is evident from a large study by The New York Times. The newspaper reconstructed how the social network went from crisis to crisis over the past three years and how the company tried to manage it.

Sheryl Sandberg, operational director and Zuckerberg’s right-hand woman, oversaw a strategy whereby, eg, a public relations firm was hired to discredit opponents. This happened partly by linking them to the billionaire George Soros, writes the paper.

Anti-Semites accuse Jewish George Soros of being secretly behind all sorts of things which they hate. United States President Donald Trump accused Soros, without any evidence, of being behind the caravan of refugees from Central American regimes. He called these Central Americans ‘invaders’ and threatened to kill them. That was the inspiration for the anti-Semitic mass murder at the Pittsburgh synagogue (a synagogue which did help Central American refugees).

FACEBOOK EXEC ‘ASKED FOR DIRT ON SOROS’ Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg reportedly asked communications staff to dig up information on George Soros in response to the billionaire liberal donor’s remarks against the social media giant, according to a New York Times report. [HuffPost]

It is paradoxical that Mr Zuckerberg and Ms Sandberg, both from Jewish families, use the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Soros is supposedly under all beds. So does the son of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, so they are not alone. Facebook also does not censor anti-Semitic Holocaust denial, but does censor critics of Trump’s xenophobia.

Anti-Facebook movement

The firm is said to have distributed a research paper among journalists in which Soros was depicted as an “unrecognized force” behind an anti-Facebook movement. …

The PR agency also urged journalists to investigate financial ties between Soros and organizations that were members of ‘Freedom from Facebook’. …

The agency, Definers Public Affairs, was initially hired by Facebook in October 2017 to monitor reporting on the platform. At Definers, people who were involved in this process work with Republican presidential campaigns.

Negative messages about Apple and Google

According to The New York Times, the agency also distributed messages on a news website – NTK – which was linked to them in which Google and Apple were accused of wrong practices.

Before she was at Facebook, Ms Sandberg used to be at Google. Was this a settling of old scores with her ex-employer?

JANE EISNER: I believed the Facebook exec [Sandberg] when she portrayed herself as a force for good. Now she looks more like a run-of-the-mill corporate villain: here.

NTK itself is not that big, but the messages were picked up by, eg, [also far-right site] Breitbart, writes the newspaper.

Hours after the publication, the newspaper reported that Facebook stopped working with the company. …

The New York Times story comes a day after The Wall Street Journal published an internal survey of optimism among employees of the corporation. This showed that this has dropped sharply: from 84 percent last year to 52 percent now. Add this story and Facebook does not seem to be finished with its crisis mode for the time being.

What further consequences the investigation by the newspaper will have is unclear. Techsite Recode is already addressing the question asked this year: should someone be fired? Zuckerberg can not really be dismissed because he has a majority vote in the supervisory board. So he would have to leave himself and he said earlier this year he would not. Whether his right hand Sandberg will leave is also very much the question.

18 thoughts on “Facebook’s anti-Semitic smear campaign after privacy scandal

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