Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told the company's communications staff to carry out research on the financial interests of liberal billionaire George Soros, The New York Times reports.
Sandberg asked for the information in an email in January to senior communications and policy executives, the Times reported late Thursday, citing three unnamed sources with knowledge of her request.
The request came after Soros bashed Facebook and Google in a January speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling them a "menace." At the time, Facebook was facing new scrutiny over its handling of Russian misinformation campaigns and the proliferation of hate speech its platform.
Sandberg told subordinates to look into Soros' criticism and whether he stood to gain financially from the attacks by shorting its shares, the Times said.
A spokesperson for Facebook told CNBC the company researched possible motivations behind Soros' criticism of Facebook in January, before Sandberg inquired about Soros.