Facebook shares slide, critical NYT article identifies depth of potential wrongdoing

Facebook shares slide, critical NYT article identifies depth of potential wrongdoing
Written by:
Ilona Billington
15th November 2018
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Facebook shares are lower Thursday, in the wake of a New York Times article that uncovered and criticised a variety of the social media network’s recent actions. Among the claims made in the article, were that the tech company used a PR firm to uncover details on well-known individuals who were critical of it.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and George Soros are reportedly among those people.

By 1645 BST, Facebook shares were 1.95% lower at $141.41. The stock has been trending broadly lower in recent weeks.

Facebook denies many NYT claims

The NYT article includes a wide range of accusations against Mark Zuckerberg’s business. They include:

  • Encouraging reporters and PR professionals to investigate Facebook critics.
  • It was slow to name Russia as the major element in election interference.
  • Attempted to discredit anti-Facebook protesters as anti-Semitic.
  • Supported stronger sex-trafficking laws to improve Facebook’s approval rating.
  • Encouraged Facebook employees to own Android phones.

However, Facebook said Thursday that those claims weren’t true or fair to the company.

“Yesterday, The New York Times published an article about the past two years at Facebook. There are a number of inaccuracies in the story,” Facebook said in a blog post addressing the article.

Facebook crafted a response to many of the accusations, including the one its treatment of Apple and CEO Cook.

“Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So, there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us. And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world,” Facebook said.

Facebook fires PR firm, Definers

Facebook also said Thursday, that it has ended its contract with Definers, whom the NYT article said the tech giant had tasked with digging up information of Facebook critics.

“The New York Times is wrong to suggest that we ever asked Definers to pay for or write articles on Facebook’s behalf – or to spread misinformation,” Facebook said.

It also reiterated, again, that it admits it was too slow to spot Russian interference on its platform.

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