Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that neither he nor COO Sheryl Sandberg plan to resign in response to the New York Times’ bombshell expose about how the tech giant has handled a series of PR crises since Russian interference in the 2016 election became known.
“That’s not the plan,” Zuckerberg told CNN Business host Laurie Segall in an interview on Tuesday when asked if he planned to step down as chairman.
“Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts for a lot of the biggest issues that we have,” he said about Sandberg. “She’s been an important partner to me for ten years. I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.”
Zuckerberg’s support for Sandberg comes nearly a week after the Times reported that his company failed to move quickly enough in response to the discovery that Russian agents were using their platform to influence a U.S. presidential election. The Times also reported that Facebook had hired an outside firm to dig up dirt on rival tech companies and company critics in an attempt to deflect heat from the scandal.
In a 90-minute phone call with reporters the day after the Times report was published, Zuckerberg said he was not aware of Facebook’s involvement with the Republican-associated political firm Definers.
“Me personally, I didn’t know we were working with them,” Zuckerberg said. “This is not the type of work that I want us to be doing so we won’t be doing it.”
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg disputed the accuracy of the Times story and said he believed the company had made good progress toward responding to some of the vulnerabilities exploited by the Russian government two years ago.
“There are big issues, and I’m not trying to say that there aren’t,” he said. “But I do think that sometimes, you can get the flavor from some of the coverage that that’s all there is, and I don’t think that that’s right either.”