Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sues ‘Facebook for defamation’
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is filing a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times over a headline that says he used his platform to “sell” shares to “billionaires and billionaires.”
The Times article published on Feb. 6 quotes Zuckerberg as saying he “sold” shares in a Facebook-backed hedge fund to an unnamed “billionaire” during a February 2015 event at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
Zuckerberg said he was buying shares in the fund because he wanted to be a part of the conversation and to help educate people.
The article says Zuckerberg used the word “fraudulent” in reference to the hedge fund that was run by his brother-in-law.
The lawsuit filed by Zuckerberg, his lawyers and The New Yorker says the Times’ story mischaracterizes his “unsubstantiated” claim of a “frivolous” purchase.
The suit also says that Zuckerberg and Facebook are violating the Federal Trade Commission’s rules against false statements about trade.
Zuckerberg’s lawyer, Jeffrey Rosen, said he didn’t know if the Times had filed the complaint.
The New Yorker article also quotes a former Facebook employee who said Zuckerberg “did not sell shares in Facebook” and that the Times story is “false and defamatory.”
The employee said Zuckerberg was selling shares to people who were “rich.”
The article also said the Times article “refers to Zuckerberg’s personal position on the issue” and was “false” because he had never purchased shares.
“It is clear that Facebook’s article is false and defaming, and misleading, and the Times should retract it,” Rosen said in a statement to USA Today.
The company has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The Times published a retraction of the article and posted a correction on Feb 10.
Zuck, who founded Facebook in 2004, did not respond to a request for comment.
In the lawsuit, Zuckerberg claims the New Yorker’s story is inaccurate because it says Zuckerberg “sold hundreds of millions of dollars in shares in his own company’s stock to other investors.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that Zuckerberg has a conflict of interest because he “is paid to make money off Facebook.”
It also says Zuckerberg has been “engaged in a fraud by the New York public for at least two years.”
The suit claims that the article “depicts Facebook as a company that profits by selling shares in its own business.”
The complaint also says the story is false because it “states that Facebook is ‘the world’s most popular platform for sharing and creating content,’ and is ‘a platform for people to discover new content, and for people with diverse backgrounds to find and share content.'”
Zuckerburg also claims in the lawsuit that the New Jersey-based Times “ignores his record of publicly speaking out on Facebook and other social media platforms against corporate corruption and other crimes.”
The New York-based New Yorker did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.