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Soros calls for Zuckerberg, Sandberg to step down from Facebook in scathing letter

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2/18/2020 Joshua Bote

George Soros called for Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's respective CEO and COO, to be "removed from control" in a letter published in Financial Times.

The liberal billionaire, who has long been a vocal critic of Facebook's head executives and is the subject of many fabricated conspiracy theories peddled on the platform, reiterated the claim that Zuckerberg is in "some kind of mutual assistance arrangement" with President Donald Trump for his re-election.

"If there is any doubt whether an ad is political, it should err on the side of caution and refuse to publish," Soros wrote. "It is unlikely that Facebook will follow this course."

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The sentiment is similar to a speech he gave at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, in which he claimed some "kind of informal mutual assistance operation or agreement developing between Trump and Facebook." He did not verify this claim, and it was denied by the company.

Related video: Soros Says Facebook is Conspiring to Re-Elect Trump (provided by Bloomberg)

 
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The company also rejected Soros' claims in the letter. In a statement to USA TODAY, a representative from Facebook said that the suggestion that the company is connected to a figure or party "runs counter to our values and the facts."

George Soros: Facebook, Zuckerberg in cahoots with Trump to win 2020 election

An analysis from the Guardian published last month found that Trump spent around $20 million on hundreds of thousands of ads on Facebook, some of which were false, outspending all the Democratic candidates. 

Despite a litany of criticism, Facebook continues to run political advertising on its platform, repeatedly stating that it should not litigate the legitimacy of claims made in campaign ads.

Their policy is in contrast to Twitter's ban on all political advertising, which was enacted last November, and Google's heightened restrictions on targeted political ads, which began in January. A letter signed by hundreds of Facebook employees to Zuckerberg opposing the company's policy was published in the New York Times last October.

An op-ed written by Zuckerberg — also published on Financial Times Sunday — was in support for greater regulation of "Big Tech," but expressed continued support for keeping political ads on the website. Soros wrote that Zuckerberg was intentionally "obfuscating the facts" in that piece.

He made it readily apparent, however, that he supports "government regulation of social media platforms."


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