Patrick Gaspard on the Facebook Controversy

President of Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Patrick Gaspard, reacts to the New York Times’s bombshell report, alleging Facebook hired a firm to discredit its critics, in part by linking them to Soros.

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PATRICK GASPARD: You know, I appreciate that Sheryl Sandberg responded immediately to my letter. I appreciate that Mark Zuckerberg in his press conference expressed some admiration for George Soros. But you can’t, in one instance, express some contrition and then he immediately move to a space of contest with your critics. Sheryl Sandberg told me that they were firing that group and they did so but without any admission of wrongdoing. She also took up my question about whether or not Facebook would support an independent investigation and review of this black ops false flag operation that they funded, she said they would — that they would take that into consideration, and I appreciate that. But I also appreciate the fact that the new incoming majority in the House of Representatives is asking some very tough questions, some procedures have already been filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the issue of monopolistic control of the Internet is surfacing in a way in our political discussions that I think bring some much needed interrogation to the issue.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well, boy oh boy, you are laying down the gauntlet there. I mean, you are talking about, you know, congressional oversight and accountability potentially happening. The question here is, you said that they have fired “Definers,” but they told you and they said publicly, both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg, that they had no idea “Definers” had even been hired. Does that sound credible to you?

GASPARD: Well, you know, I understand that it’s a large company but I find it hard to believe that one would go after someone like George Soros who, as you said, is a figure of some note, figure who recently received a pipe bomb in his mailbox as a consequence of these kinds of virulent hate filled campaigns. It’s difficult to imagine that a firm would make a decision to go after George Soros and our foundation without some clearance at the highest levels of the organization. The first four words of Facebook’s mission declaration is give people the power. There was a sense, at some point, that Facebook and other social internet platforms would be a decentralizing power in our democracies that would lift up citizen voice. But instead, we’re seeing a centralization in a way that threatens freedom, that threatens expression and threatens, at the end of the day, our ability to have the kind of citizen solidarity and cooperation that’s necessary for a vital and healthy democracy. So, we are going to continue to ask these questions, Christiane, and hold Facebook and social media writ large accountable, not just for this, but for the instances that I’ve already cited like the atrocities that occurred in Myanmar where criticism was raised, warnings were lifted up but action was not taken.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Victor Cha, former member of the U.S. National Security Council; Patrick Gaspard, President of the Open Society Foundations; and Stephen Adler, President and Editor-in-Chief at Reuters. Michel Martin speaks with actress Jenifer Lewis.