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Photo:Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg keeps adjusting the story she tells about controversies involving the company and billionaire George Soros, a frequent recipient of anti-Semitic attacks. Specifically at issue is her role in the company's reaction to criticism from Soros and in the company's relationship with a consulting firm that linked the social network's critics to him.

Why it matters: Sandberg’s boss, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has stood by her thus far. But the flow of new revelations about what she knew, and what she did, are further fraying the company's reputation.

Two weeks ago, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke with a CBS News anchor and said she “did not know about or hire” the consulting firm, Definers Public Affairs.

  • Last week, she admitted that work produced by the Definers firm was part of materials that crossed her desk. So did emails mentioning the firm.

Two weeks ago, Sandberg said she respected Soros, so “I'm looking into it.”

  • On Thursday night, the New York Times and BuzzFeed News reported that she had directed executives to look into Soros’ potential financial motives in criticizing the company.

Facebook's response: “Mr. Soros is a prominent investor and we looked into his investments and trading activity related to Facebook,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement. “That research was already underway when Sheryl sent an email asking if Mr. Soros had shorted Facebook's stock.”

  • The spokesperson added that Sandberg never “directed research” on Freedom From Facebook, a progressive coalition advocating for the breakup of the company that was the ultimate target of the opposition research effort.

The bigger picture: Facebook and Sandberg are under intense pressure from all sides.

  • Earlier on Thursday, Sandberg met with activists from civil rights group Color Of Change and said the company would release an early report on a civil rights audit it is conducting.
  • The company hasn’t met other demands put forward by the group. Sandberg personally defended Joel Kaplan, the company’s top policy executive, against calls from the activists for him to be fired.

What they're saying: Some observers on Twitter noted that it's not unusual for corporations to look into the financial interests of prominent public critics. Others called loudly for Facebook's board to intervene.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.

Scoop: Parscale launches super PAC

Brad Parscale. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has founded a new super PAC and sister advocacy group, public records show.

Why it matters: The groups will allow Parscale himself to back candidates aligned with Donald Trump ahead of the 2022 midterms. They could also be used to deploy his new political data firm and harvest vital voter information for other clients.