An Insider told The Washington Post that a “hatchet man” spokesman for Facebook is attracting enemies like politicians and reporters alike as the company takes it on them in Washington and he’s doing it to please Mark Zuckerberg.
In just the last week, Facebook policy communications director Andy Stone, who is a 40-year-old communications veteran who previously worked for former Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry, who has questioned whistleblower Frances Haugen’s credibility, drawn the ire of Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, and tussled with reporters, blaming them about trashing the company with their “misleading” stories.
Insiders tell The Post that the real purpose of Stone’s caustic comms strategy is to please Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg — even if that means angering the politicians who want to regulate Facebook and the reporters who cover it.
Stone’s caustic comms strategy’s real purpose is to please Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, even if it means going against the politicians who want to regulate Facebook and reporters who want to cover it. This is what Insiders think.
“The target audience is Mark and Sheryl and Facebook employees,” said a former Facebook employee who worked with Stone. “It doesn’t really matter if reporters or the general public like them.”
During past crises like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has played nice, buying apologetic full-page newspaper ads and sending Zuckerberg and Sandberg to testify before Congress. This time, the company’s top brass sent lower-ranking executives like security chief Antigone Davis to take the heat from Congress — and has apparently given Stone free rein to tussle with Facebook critics.
Facebook has behaved well, purchasing apologetic full-page newspaper advertisements and sending Zuckerberg and Sandberg to testify before Congress during previous crises, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal.. This time, the company’s top brass dispatched lower-ranking executives like security chief Antigone Davis to take the heat from Congress and appears to have given Stone carte blanche to spar with Facebook critics.
“The traditional corporate PR playbook says that the company apologizes, offers to be part of the solution and generally finds ways to make Congress happy,” the former Facebook employee said. “Facebook is beyond that right now.”