Inside Facebook’s Push to Defend Its Image

The adjustments have concerned Fb executives from its advertising, communications, coverage and integrity groups. Alex Schultz, a 14-year firm veteran who was named chief advertising officer final yr, has additionally been influential within the picture reshaping effort, stated 5 individuals who labored with him. However no less than one of many choices was pushed by Mr. Zuckerberg, and all have been accepted by him, three of the individuals stated.

Credit score…Tommaso Boddi/Getty Photographs

Joe Osborne, a Fb spokesman, denied that the corporate had modified its strategy.

“Folks deserve to know the steps we’re taking to tackle the totally different points going through our firm — and we’re going to share these steps broadly,” he stated in an announcement.

For years, Fb executives have chafed at how their firm appeared to obtain extra scrutiny than Google and Twitter, stated present and former workers. They attributed that focus to Facebook’s leaving itself extra uncovered with its apologies and offering entry to inside knowledge, the individuals stated.

So in January, executives held a digital assembly and broached the concept of a extra aggressive protection, one attendee stated. The group mentioned utilizing the Information Feed to promote optimistic information in regards to the firm, in addition to working advertisements that linked to favorable articles about Fb. Additionally they debated how to outline a pro-Fb story, two individuals stated.

That very same month, the communications workforce mentioned methods for executives to be much less conciliatory when responding to crises and determined there could be much less apologizing, stated two individuals with data of the plan.

Mr. Zuckerberg, who had develop into intertwined with coverage points together with the 2020 election, additionally wished to recast himself as an innovator, the individuals stated. In January, the communications workforce circulated a doc with a technique for distancing Mr. Zuckerberg from scandals, partly by focusing his Fb posts and media appearances on new merchandise, they stated.

The Info, a tech information website, beforehand reported on the doc.

The affect was instant. On Jan. 11, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief working officer — and never Mr. Zuckerberg — told Reuters that the storming of the U.S. Capitol every week earlier had little to do with Fb. In July, when President Biden stated the social community was “killing individuals” by spreading Covid-19 misinformation, Man Rosen, Facebook’s vice chairman for integrity, disputed the characterization in a blog post and identified that the White Home had missed its coronavirus vaccination objectives.

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