CONVENIENT TIMING

Outgoing Facebook Public Policy Head Takes ‘Full Responsibility’ for Hiring GOP Oppo Firm Definers

Facebook’s outgoing head of public policy, Elliot Schrage, says he is responsible for hiring GOP-linked opposition group Definers to do work against Facebook’s critics. In an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch, Schrage confirms that the social network used Definers to do work on George Soros and other Facebook critics, as reported by The New York Times. “In January 2018, investor and philanthropist George Soros attacked Facebook in a speech at Davos, calling us a ‘menace to society.’ We had not heard such criticism from him before and wanted to determine if he had any financial motivation. Definers researched this using public information,” Schrage wrote, adding that the firm “prepared documents and distributed these to the press” to show that Soros was “funding” several “Freedom from Facebook” campaign members. Schrage also wrote the firm helped Facebook with “unfair claims where Facebook was been singled out for criticism.” However, Schrage denied asking the firm to “distribute or create fake news,” as was reported in the Times piece. Schrage said he took “full responsibility” for the decision to hire Definers in the memo. “I knew and approved of the decision to hire Definers and similar firms,” he wrote. “...I’m sorry I let you all down. I regret my own failure here.” Schrage also did not confirm that the company would stop working with Definers but said CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked the communications team to “reevaluate” how it works with consultants.