Facebook Cuts Ties With GOP Oppo-Research Firm Definers Public Affairs Over Outcry

Facebook said it has cut ties with Republican opposition-research firm Definers Public Affairs after a bombshell report Wednesday claimed the company helped the social-media giant spread false and disparaging information about its critics and competitors after Russian agents infected the platform during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook announced the change Thursday after The New York Times reported, just hours earlier, that the company discredited prominent protesters by trying to link them to liberal donor and billionaire George Soros, among others. Soros’ Open Society Foundations called Facebook’s association with such alleged efforts “reprehensible.” The group’s president, Patrick Gaspard, wrote in a letter to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg that the site’s purported methods “threaten the very values underpinning our democracy.” Facebook had denied that such work was being done on its behalf. The Times reported Thursday that Definers “news” affiliate NTK Network frequently had its Facebook-related contents picked up by right-wing sites, including Breitbart.