After admitting that it had hired Republican opposition research group Definers to investigate Jewish billionaire George Soros, Facebook is in a bind again. A new document obtained by BuzzFeed shows Definers attempted to tie Soros to anti-Facebook group Freedom From Facebook.
The document, called “Freedom From Facebook Potential Funding,” was distributed to journalists in the fall, BuzzFeed reports. The two-page document starts by saying,
Recently, a number of progressive groups came together to form the Freedom From Facebook campaign which has a six-figure ad budget. It is not clear who is providing the large amount of funding for the campaign but at least four of the groups in the coalition receive funding or are aligned with George Soros who has publicly criticized Facebook. It is very possible that Soros is funding Freedom From Facebook.
In a blog post from Nov. 21, outgoing head of communication and policy Elliot Schrage intimated that Soros was funding Freedom From Facebook:
“When the ‘Freedom from Facebook’ campaign emerged as a so-called grassroots coalition, the team asked Definers to help understand the groups behind them. They learned that George Soros was funding several of the coalition members.”
The document claims that two of the organizations behind Freedom from Facebook, SumOfUs and MoveOn.org, have received funding from the Open Society Foundation, which was founded by Soros.
Others, like the Open Market Institute, which was originally funded by Google, is also funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute, as well as Tide Foundation, which Soros has also funded. The document also points out that Citizens Against Monopoly was set up by the Open Market Institute.
Soros’ Open Society Foundation funds a number of groups around the world; although the researchers found that the Open Society Foundation funded some of the groups involved with Freedom From Facebook, it does not show that OSI directed the formation of the group or directly funds it.
According to BuzzFeed, Freedom From Facebook spokesperson Eddie Vale said that no money from Soros had funded the coalition’s work, either directly or indirectly. And according to Axios, the original funder of Freedom From Facebook was David Magerman, a former hedge fund manager and philanthropist from Pennsylvania.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg sent an email to staff asking if Soros was attempting to short Facebook stock after Soros criticized Facebook at Davos in early 2018. Facebook has claimed that the research on Soros was already underway when Sandberg sent the email.