- Billionaire George Soros is calling for Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to be "removed from control of Facebook."
- Writing to the Financial Times, Soros said that Facebook should "err on the side of caution and refuse to publish" political ads on its platform.
- "Mr. Zuckerberg appears to be engaged in some kind of mutual assistance arrangement with Donald Trump that will help him get re-elected," Soros said.
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Billionaire George Soros is calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to be "removed from control of Facebook," and said the company should stop publishing political ads.
Writing to the Financial Times, Soros said that Zuckerberg "appears to be engaged in some kind of mutual assistance arrangement with Donald Trump that will help him get re-elected," but did not provide evidence to substantiate his claim.
Aside from his wealth, Soros is known for his philanthropy and liberal political activism.
He added that Facebook should "err on the side of caution and refuse to publish" political ads, though "it is unlikely that Facebook will follow this course."
Facebook has received criticism that its policy not to fact-check political ads on its platform allows politicians to spread misinformation. Facebook has argued that its policy protects free speech, and said that political ads make up a tiny portion of its advertising revenue.
A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider that "while we respect Mr. Soros' right to voice his opinion, he's wrong. The notion that we are aligned with any one political figure or party runs counter to our values and the facts."
In his letter to the Financial Times, Soros referenced an op-ed in the FT by Zuckerberg in which the Facebook executive said that tech companies need governments to set regulations on political advertising.
"I don't think private companies should make so many decisions alone when they touch on fundamental democratic values," Zuckerberg wrote.
But Soros said that Zuckerberg "should stop obfuscating the facts by piously arguing for government regulation" and that Facebook "does not need to wait for government regulations" to stop publishing political ads.
The Facebook spokesperson said the company is making "unprecedented investments to keep our platform safe, fight foreign interference in elections around the world, and combat misinformation."
Soros has made similar comments before; he said in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that Facebook and President Donald Trump have a "kind of informal mutual assistance operation." Facebook called his claim "just plain wrong."
Speaking at Davos in 2018, Soros also criticized Facebook in front of world leaders. After his comments, a public relations firm hired by Facebook tried to blame Soros for growing criticism of Facebook. The firm sent journalists a report that accused Soros of backing anti-Facebook groups and encouraged the reporters to investigate alleged ties between the groups and Soros.
Sandberg and Zuckerberg immediately denied knowing about the effort — widely criticized as playing into anti-semitic tropes — but the New York Times reported that Sandberg had made the request to investigate Soros' financial ties.