Our Work With Facebook
It was hard to miss, but this week the New York Times published a story about our work with Facebook. One big thing missing from that and subsequent reports is the nature of the work Definers actually did for Facebook on a day-to-day basis.
To be clear: Definers was not hired by Facebook as an opposition research firm. That might be the sexy story for media outlets because several of us have spent years doing research and communications for high-stakes political campaigns, but that was not the scope of work we had for Facebook.
In fact, Definers’ main services for Facebook were basic media monitoring and public relations around public policy issues facing the company. We ran a large-scale news alert service keeping hundreds of Facebook staff informed on news stories about the company and its policy challenges.
Our public relations professionals worked with Facebook and the media to help the company roll-out policy announcements regarding platform changes, policy initiatives, and company news. This included work on advertising and hate speech policies, addressing bias on the platform, and their efforts to crack down on inauthentic behavior on the platform.
On all these efforts we worked closely and transparently with dozens of tech reporters on Facebook’s behalf. Our hiring was public, and first reported by Axios in October 2017. Our relationship was no secret.
A fraction of our work with Facebook included providing research and background information about critics – both on the left and the right. This practice, standard across many industries, is based on researching public records and databases available to anyone. When we do research, each item includes a link to the source material – a standard way to ensure information is communicated in facts, not innuendo.
Two other points of clarification: Definers is not a “Republican firm.” It’s true many of us come from backgrounds in GOP politics, but the work we do is non-partisan and ranges across the political spectrum. Secondly, Definers does not lobby. We do communications.
As we have said, Definers is proud of the work we have done for Facebook, but it is important that our actual scope of work be reflected accurately.