The Strategist

Facebook finds someone to blame for all problems


11/21/2018 - 12:36



Facebook has found a “scapegoat” who took the blame for the last scandal involving the social network. It’s not Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg, but Elliot Schrage, former vice president of politics and communications, who left the company this summer. Schrage admitted that he indeed hired a company that published fake news to tarnish Facebook’s rivals.



Jason McELweenie
Jason McELweenie
Last week, the New York Times accused Facebook of hiring Definers Public Affairs to produce materials that tarnished competitors, and also accused George Soros of plotting against the company.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, unanimously said that they did not know anything about the ongoing smear campaign, as it was responsibility of the PR department.

TechCrunch received an internal letter, in which the alleged culprit was found. It was former vice-president for politics and communications Elliot Schrage, who left Facebook in the summer of 2018. Schrage takes all the blame on himself.

“The responsibility for these decisions lies on the head of the PR department. That is, on me. Mark and Sheryl trusted me on this. I knew and approved the decision to hire Definers and other similar firms. I should have known what the expansion of their powers would turn into... I am sorry that I let you down. I regret this mistake,” Elliot Schrage stated in his official statement.

The former top manager reported that Definers helped the company respond to unfair attacks in the media, where Facebook was unjustly criticized, and also “it’s profitable to distinguish us from the competition”.

As for the slander against George Soros, who allegedly sponsored Facebook critics, Schrage admitted that he had “set” Definers on the billionaire himself.

Sheryl Sandberg’s commentary, following the statement by the former vice president, says that Facebook was not going to promote “anti-Semitic rhetoric” to Soros or anyone else.

“I myself am Jewish, and our company does not accept discrimination. The very idea that our work can be called anti-Semitic makes me disgusted,” Sandberg said.

According to Elliot Schrage, Facebook has decided to make changes in communication with the PR at the request of Zuckerberg. The new vice president for politics and communications, Nick Clegg, will take care of this issue.

Thus, the former Facebook top manager, who no longer has a relationship with the company, took all the responsibility upon himself by withdrawing a barrage of criticism from Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. This is a very good move on the part of the company's management, because the public can now not know whether Schrage really acted independently without instructions from above. As for the punishment for the culprit, Zuckerberg is no longer necessary to do this, since Schrage has already quit.

It is possible that Zuckerberg could ask Schrage to plead guilty, providing him with monetary compensation. Given that the echoes of the scandal will be annoying the head of Facebook for some time, such a resolution of the crisis can be called the most optimal in the current situation.

Shortly after the outbreak of scandal, Mark Zuckerberg decided to give a detailed interview to CNN Business to present his point of view on what happened.

“We have big problems, and I do not want to say that they do not exist. But sometimes people form their opinions on the basis of media coverage of the story, and I do not think this is right,” Zuckerberg said, adding that his views on the world are different from those of some journalists.

The interviewer asked why Facebook decided not to remove the controversial Donald Trump publications and whether this decision was politically motivated. Zuckerberg replied that people should have the opportunity to hear what political leaders want to say. “It seems to me that we did the right thing,” the creator of the social network emphasized.

Despite the fact that both Facebook investors and ordinary users are increasingly demanding changes in the management team, Zuckerberg made it clear that neither he nor Sandberg are going to leave in the near future.

When asked whether Mark Zuckerberg was not going to leave the post of chairman of the company's board of directors, the billionaire replied that "there are no such plans." In addition, he stood up for his right hand, Sheryl Sandberg, calling her his "important partner."

source: cnn.com




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