Facebook’s outgoing head of communications and public policy said that he knew and approved the decision to hire controversial public relations firm, Definers Public Affairs, according to an internal memo reported by TechCrunch.
announced in June that he was leaving, said his team asked Definers to push negative narratives about Facebook’s competitors. But he denied that the company asked the PR firm to distribute or create fake news, according to the TechCrunch report.
He also admitted that Facebook asked Definers to conduct research on liberal financier George Soros.
Facebook did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comments, which were sent after office hours.
“I knew and approved of the decision to hire Definers and similar firms. I should have known of the decision to expand their mandate,” Schrage said in the memo.
Last week, an extensively reported New York Times article said that Definers wrote dozens of articles that tried to deflect negative attention onto rivals Google and Apple and pushed the idea that Soros was behind a growing anti-Facebook movement.
Facebook expanded its relationship with Definers in October 2017 after enduring a year’s worth of external criticism over its handling of Russian interference on its social network, according to the report.