‘Facebook is behaving like it’s a special snowflake’: Investors call on Mark Zuckerberg to resign as chairman following damaging report that social media giant employed PR firm to smear its critics

Saturday, November 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

Investor Jonas Kron has called for Zuckerberg to step down as board chairman
It follows report Facebook used consulting firm which acted as a ‘fake news’ operation to help Facebook deal with a public relations crisis
Firm allegedly sought to link Facebook critics to liberal financier George Soros

17 November 2018

Investors are calling on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step down following a report a conservative consulting firm used ‘black ops’ style techniques to deflect criticism from the social networking giant.

Jonas Kron, senior vice president at Trillium Asset Management which owns an £8.5m stake in Facebook, called on Zuckerberg to step down as board chairman, telling The Telegraph: ‘Facebook is behaving like it’s a special snowflake. It’s not. It is a company and companies need to have a separation of chair and CEO.’

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Friday pledged a ‘thorough’ review of its use of a conservative consulting firm.

Sandberg dismissed a suggestion reported by NBC News that Definers Public Affairs acted as a ‘fake news’ operation to help Facebook deal with a public relations crisis over its handling of Russian misinformation.

‘We absolutely did not pay anyone to create fake news. That, they have assured me, was not happening,’ Sandberg told CBS This Morning.

‘And again, we’re doing a thorough look into what happened but they have assured me that we were not paying anyone to either write or promote anything that was false. And that’s very important.’

She said she was unaware Facebook was working with Definers.

Investor Natasha Lamb, of Arjuna Capital, told The Telegraph that Zuckerberg’s role as chairman and chief executive means the social network can avoid fixing problems in the company.

She said: ‘That concentration of power creates a lot of defensiveness within the company. It’s an exercise in hiding that there is a problem rather than admitting that there is a problem and setting a roadmap to fixing it.’

Zuckerberg said Thursday he too was in the dark about the firm, which according to a New York Times investigation sought to link Facebook critics to liberal financier George Soros.

The Hungarian-born US financier and philanthropist is a favorite target of nationalists and anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

Sandberg said Facebook was no longer working with Definers but added that ‘at the time, they were trying to show that some of the activity against us that appeared to be grassroots also had major organizations behind them.’

‘I did not know we hired them or about the work they were doing, but I should have,’ she in a post on her Facebook page.

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