Facebook fires PR firm that was digging up dirt on competitors

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Facebook has reportedly fired a conservative public relations firm that was, among other work, digging up dirt on its competitors.  The Republican-leaning communications consultancy was accused of trying to smear the billionaire investor George Soros on Facebook’s behalf.

On Thursday, Facebook said that it ended its contract with Definers after The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Washington DC-based Definers Public Affairs firm had pushed negative stories about other tech companies and Facebook’s critics, some of which were posted on a conservative website linked to the firm.

According to The New York Times, the consultancy had suggested to reporters that there were financial connections between Mr Soros’ family and groups that make up the Freedom from Facebook coalition.

The Times reported that Definers had circulated a document earlier this year encouraging reporters to examine the links between liberal billionaire George Soros and a group campaigning to break up Facebook.
Online criticism of Soros is sometimes explicitly anti-Semitic, and sometimes harkens back to anti-Semitic tropes. Some of the backlash that followed the Times’ report came from critics suggesting Facebook had engaged in dog whistle politics.
In a statement early Thursday morning, Facebook said it had ended its contract with Definers.

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