Mark Zuckerberg urged his workers to not apologize for Fb’s ills as staffers known as lawmakers in Washington, DC, in an effort to discredit whistleblower Frances Haugen, the Wall Avenue Journal reported Wednesday.
In an effort to cease Democrats and Republicans from uniting in opposition to Fb, which not too long ago modified its identify to Meta, the corporate’s Washington group reached out to Republicans and claimed that Haugen was a Democratic activist who needed to spice up President Biden’s social gathering, according to the Journal.
In the meantime, Meta operatives reportedly warned Democrats that Republicans would use Haugen’s leaks to blast the corporate’s decision to ban posts in support of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted this yr of homicide and tried homicide expenses.
Republicans and Democrats who spoke to the paper described the calls as an effort to forestall lawmakers from uniting throughout social gathering traces in opposition to Meta, which additionally owns Instagram and WhatsApp.
Throughout earlier crises, Zuckerberg and chief working officer Sheryl Sandberg have adopted the standard playbook of publicly apologizing and pledging to make modifications.
However after Haugen leaked inner paperwork this yr exhibiting Instagram’s negative effects on teen mental health, struggles to crack down on human trafficking and position in amplifying lies about political issues, the corporate has taken a more durable line.
Zuckerberg has informed workers to not apologize and urged them to reply extra forcefully to dangerous press, in keeping with the Journal. Longtime board members together with enterprise capitalists Peter Thiel and Marc Andressen have egged Zuckerberg on, the paper reported.
The Journal’s reporting comes after a Fb worker who labored with caustic comms staffer Andy Stone informed The Put up in October that the company’s aggressive approach was designed to please Zuckerberg and Sandberg.
“The standard company PR playbook says that the corporate apologizes, gives to be a part of the answer and usually finds methods to make Congress completely happy,” the ex-employee mentioned. “Fb is past that proper now.”
“The target market is Mark and Sheryl,” the previous staffer added.
Throughout this fall’s maelstrom of dangerous press, some Meta executives additionally floated the concept of abandoning plans for a model of Instagram focused at youngsters, in keeping with the Journal. However Zuckerberg reportedly mentioned that abandoning Instagram for youths wasn’t an possibility — so the corporate as a substitute announced in September that it would “pause” the project.
Whereas many Meta critics are wary of Haugen’s proposed solutions — which embody making a federal regulator to supervise Fb fairly than utilizing antitrust legislation to interrupt it up — there seems to be a consensus in Washington, DC, that her leaks present that one thing should be completed in regards to the firm.
However legislative battles in 2022 will present whether or not Fb’s alleged makes an attempt to muddy the waters will stop Republicans and Democrats from uniting behind a particular bill.
Meta shares had been buying and selling down about 0.9 p.c at noon Wednesday. They’ve fallen practically 10 p.c for the reason that first experiences primarily based on Haugen’s leaks had been revealed by the Journal.