Using opposition research to undermine government:
“At the same time that Facebook was publicly professing their desire to work with the committee to address these issues, they were paying a political opposition research firm to privately attempt to undermine that same committee’s credibility,” Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the panel, said in a statement. “It’s very concerning.”
The documents obtained by The New York Times provide a deeper look at Definers’ tactics to discredit Facebook’s critics. The Times reported on Wednesday that Definers also distributed research documents to reporters that cast the liberal donor George Soros as an unacknowledged force behind activists protesting Facebook, and helped publish articles criticizing Facebook’s rivals on what was designed to look like a typical conservative news site.
You almost have to be a professional conspiracy theorist to even understand the machinations involved. But that complexity might just be an integral part of the program, and not just a by-product. Because it introduces an element of uncertainty for lawmakers, especially those who have a few skeletons in their closet. They might be on the verge of a career-ending sudden release of damning information, if they push too hard on his royal majesty Mark Zuckerberg, who has mastered the art of strategic denialism:
Late Wednesday, after The Times published its findings, Facebook cut ties with the firm.
“I understand that a lot of D.C.-type firms might do this kind of work. When I learned about it I decided that we don’t want to be doing it,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said on Thursday during a call with reporters.
That's pretty clever, but also sleazy as hell. Caught in the act, Zuckerberg is able to deflect onto the usual suspects, those "D.C.-type firms." Here's more about his hired character assassins:
Facebook initially hired Definers to monitor news about the social network. It expanded its relationship with the firm in October 2017 when scrutiny of Facebook was increasing over how Russian agents had used the site to sow discord before the 2016 United States election.
Definers began doing some general communications work, such as running conference calls for Facebook. It also undertook more covert efforts to spread the blame for the rise of the Russian disinformation, pointing fingers at other companies like Google.
A key part of Definers’ strategy was NTK Network, a website that appeared to be a run-of-the-mill news aggregator with a right-wing slant. In fact, many of NTK Network’s stories were written by employees at Definers and America Rising, a sister firm, to criticize rivals of their clients, according to one former employee not allowed to speak about it publicly. The three outfits share some staff and offices in Arlington, Va.
Before Ms. Sandberg’s Senate testimony, Facebook lobbyists pushed lawmakers to refrain from questioning her about privacy, censorship and other issues, and to stick to election interference. The committee’s chairman, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, was swayed and warned members to stick to the hearing’s planned topic, The Times reported Wednesday.
Of course he was swayed, he's a f**king idiot. An idiot who fancies himself a cunning intelligence chief, when in reality, he's one of the biggest dangers to our national security. Dog help us.