With Facebook at ‘War,’ Zuckerberg Adopts More Aggressive Style

New approach causes turmoil, driving several key executives from the company and creating tensions with longtime Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg

Mark Zuckerberg gathered about 50 of his top lieutenants earlier this year and told them that Facebook Inc. FB -5.72% was at war and he planned to lead the company accordingly.

During times of peace, executives can move more slowly and ensure that everybody is on board with key decisions, he said during the June meeting, according to people familiar with the remarks. But with Facebook under siege from lawmakers, investors and angry users, he needed to act more decisively, the people said.

.. On Friday, that tension was on display when, during a question-and-answer session with employees at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., he blasted a fresh round of critical news coverage as “bullshit,” according to the people familiar with the remarks.

One employee at the session asked if Facebook could deter leaks by publishing an internal report about how frequently offenders are found and fired. Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook does fire leakers, but the root cause was “bad morale” perpetuated by attacks in the media.

.. He believes this tougher management style is necessary to tackle challenges being raised both internally and externally, according to a person familiar with his thinking.
.. Mr. Zuckerberg’s new posture could trouble those who feel his “move fast, break things” mantra from Facebook’s early days contributed to many of the company’s current problems. It also has led to confrontations with some of his top reports, including Ms. Sandberg, who has long had considerable autonomy over the Facebook teams that control communications and policy.
.. This spring, Mr. Zuckerberg told Ms. Sandberg, 49, that he blamed her and her teams for the public fallout over Cambridge Analytica
Ms. Sandberg later confided in friends that the exchange rattled her, and she wondered if she should be worried about her job.

.. Mr. Zuckerberg also has told Ms. Sandberg she should have been more aggressive in allocating resources to review troublesome content on the site

.. The heads of some other key Facebook units didn’t survive conflicts with Mr. Zuckerberg.

Mr. Zuckerberg clashed with the co-founders of Instagram

.. The co-founders of WhatsApp likewise left after disagreements with Mr. Zuckerberg over how to generate more revenue from the messaging-service

.. More recently, Mr. Zuckerberg forced out Brendan Iribe, co-founder of Oculus VR, in part because of a disagreement about the future of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset

.. Facebook remains hugely profitable, with net income of more than $5 billion in the third quarter, but its margins are under pressure in part because of its increased spending on security.

.. Mr. Zuckerberg has said Facebook is in the midst of a three-year turnaround ending in 2019 to strengthen its defenses against the risks posed by having an open platform.

.. All told, about a dozen senior or highly visible executives disclosed their resignations or left Facebook in 2018. In May, Facebook announced a major reshuffling of top product executives in a way that helped free up Mr. Zuckerberg to oversee a broader portfolio within the company.

.. This turmoil at the top of Facebook has made it difficult for the company to execute on some product decisions and shore up employee morale, which has been sinking over the last year along with the stock price, which has fallen 36% since its peak. Many employees are frustrated by the bad press and constant reorganizations, including of the security team, which can disrupt their work, according to current and former employees.

.. Scrutiny of Facebook has only escalated in the past week after the New York Times reported its use of opposition-research firms tasked with exposing critical information about Facebook’s detractors, including one called Definers Public Affairs. Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Zuckerberg both said the decision to employ the firm was made by Facebook’s communications officials.

Ms. Sandberg’s comments in particular have angered many people on those teams, according to people familiar with the matter, given how closely she tracked and managed Facebook’s media strategy, sometimes getting involved in wording changes. In the internal Q&A Friday, Ms. Sandberg said she took full responsibility for the actions of the communications team.

.. In September 2017, Erskine Bowles, the head of the audit committee and a former Clinton White House official, told Ms. Sandberg and Mr. Zuckerberg that he felt they needed to take the issue of Russian interference on the platform much more seriously.

“This is going to be much bigger than you think,” Mr. Bowles said

.. Later, after the Cambridge Analytica disclosure, the board urged Mr. Zuckerberg to name an executive who would be in charge of corralling Facebook’s response to that matter and resolving other issues before they metastasized, said a person familiar with the matter. After that, he put Ms. Sandberg in charge of that effort.

Mr. Zuckerberg also sought advice from a mentor, former Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates. He recommended Microsoft’s model, which relies on Brad Smith to oversee its corporate, external, and legal affairs. Mr. Smith wears the title “president” and reports directly to the CEO.

Mick Mulvaney fires all 25 members of consumer watchdog’s advisory board

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, fired the agency’s 25-member advisory board Wednesday, days after some of its members criticized his leadership of the watchdog agency.

.. On Monday, 11 CAB members held a news conference and criticized Mulvaney for, among other things, canceling legally required meetings with the group.

On Wednesday, group members were notified that they were being replaced — and that they could not reapply for spots on the new board.

.. In a statement, the agency’s spokesman, John Czwartacki, took a final swipe at the group. “The outspoken members of the Consumer Advisory Board seem more concerned about protecting their taxpayer funded junkets to Washington, D.C., and being wined and dined by the Bureau than protecting consumers,” he said.

.. Revamping the board is part of the CFPB’s new approach to reaching out to stakeholders to “increase high quality feedback,” the bureau said in an email to the group. The CFPB will hold more town halls and roundtable discussions, the letter said, and the new CAB will have fewer members.

..  Since being appointed acting director by President Trump in November, Mulvaney has launched a top-to-bottom review of the bureau’s operations, stripped enforcement powers from a CFPB unit responsible for pursuing discrimination cases and proposed that lawmakers curb the agency’s powers.

.. Last week, Mulvaney sided with payday lenders who sued the CFPB to block implementation of new industry regulations.

.. “We’ve decided we’re going to start the advisory groups with new membership, to bring in these new perspectives and new dialogue,” said Anthony Welcher, the CFPB’s policy associate director for external affairs

.. During the call, Welcher said revamping the CAB would save the agency “multi-hundred-thousand dollars a year” by not having its periodic meetings in Washington. But several board members objected, noting that they would be willing to pay their own way to attend the meetings.

.. Their dismissal “is another move indicating Acting Director Mick Mulvaney is only interested in obtaining views from his inner circle, and has no interest in hearing the perspectives of those who work with struggling American families

Southern Baptist seminary drops bombshell: Why Paige Patterson was fired

He lied about his treatment of an alleged rape victim in 2003, and in 2015 he tried to isolate another woman who had reported a sexual assault from the seminary’s chief of security so he could “break her down

.. Many Southern Baptists considered that decision too lenient because it allowed Patterson to remain on staff as “president emeritus” with compensation and the ability to retire on campus.

.. in 2003 when Patterson was president there had come to Patterson alleging she had been been raped by her then-boyfriend and was encouraged by him not to go to police and to forgive the man she said had assaulted her.

.. Megan Lively identified herself on Twitter as the person in the Post article.

.. Patterson is revered in the Southern Baptist Convention for his role in steering the denomination in a conservative direction

.. “People have always been afraid of him. Not anymore,” Lively said on Friday night.

.. Ueckert said Scott Colter’s wife, Sharayah Colter, published a blog post contesting Lively’s account of the event in 2003 and attached documents without the permission of the students referenced in the documents or from leaders of either seminary. “I believe this was inappropriate and unethical,” Ueckert said.

.. In the blog post published Thursday, Colter said Patterson “is not guilty of all of which he has been accused in recent days.” She posted letters, appearing to show correspondence between Lively and Patterson, that do not state that the two of them met in person as Lively has maintained. However, none of the documents appear to directly contradict Lively’s story. Lively said that

In the blog post published Thursday, Colter said Patterson “is not guilty of all of which he has been accused in recent days.” She posted letters, appearing to show correspondence between Lively and Patterson, that do not state that the two of them met in person as Lively has maintained. However, none of the documents appear to directly contradict Lively’s story. Lively said that the documents Colter published had been altered and that the original ones had referenced three meetings with Patterson.

.. Ueckert said Patterson wrote an email to the chief of campus security at the time in which he “discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could ‘break her down’ and that he preferred no officials be present.

.. “For 15 years of my life, I thought I did something wrong,” Lively said. “It wasn’t until Dr. Akin told me I didn’t that I firmly believed it.

.. the publication of statements he made starting in 2000 about the Bible’s view of women and his beliefs about spousal abuse and why it does not serve as grounds for divorce.

“As I’ve said before, he shamed the crap out of me,” Lively said after seeing the statement. “He tried to ‘break her down.’ My story is almost identical to this girl’s story.”

.. Akin said he believes files that would help an investigation of the incident were taken from Southeastern when Patterson left. Ueckert said in a statement that Southwestern has located those documents and is working on returning them to Southeastern.

.. Ahead of the board’s May 22 decision to demote Patterson, two Southern Baptists on President Trump’s evangelical advisory board, Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas and Richard Land of Southern Evangelical Seminary, commented in support of Patterson in conservative media.

Michael Cohen Has Said He Would Take a Bullet for Trump. Maybe Not Anymore.

For years, a joke among Trump Tower employees was that the boss was like Manhattan’s First Avenue, where the traffic goes only one way.

That one-sidedness has always been at the heart of President Trump’s relationship with his longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, who has said he would “take a bullet” for Mr. Trump. For years Mr. Trump treated Mr. Cohen poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired, according to interviews with a half-dozen people familiar with their relationship.

.. “Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” said Roger J. Stone Jr.

..  Mr. Trump’s lawyers and advisers have become resigned to the strong possibility that Mr. Cohen, who has a wife and two children and faces the prospect of devastating legal fees, if not criminal charges, could end up cooperating with federal officials

.. The trove included documents dating back decades

.. since the raid Mr. Cohen has told associates he feels isolated.

.. Mr. Trump has long felt he had leverage over Mr. Cohen, but people who have worked for the president said the raid has changed all that.

.. “Ironically, Michael now holds the leverage over Trump,” said Sam Nunberg

.. Mr. Nunberg said that Mr. Cohen “should maximize” that leverage.

.. “The softer side of the president genuinely has an affection for Michael,” Mr. Nunberg said. For instance, Mr. Trump attended the bar and bat mitzvahs of Mr. Cohen’s children. “However, the president has also taken Michael for granted.” Mr. Nunberg added that “whenever anyone complains to me about Trump screwing them over, my reflexive response is that person has nothing to complain about compared to Michael.”

..Mr. Stone recalled Mr. Trump saying of Mr. Cohen, “He owns some of the finest Trump real estate in the country — paid top dollar for it, too.” In Mr. Trump’s worldview, there are few insults more devastating than saying someone overpaid.

.. whom he has admired since high school.

.. He has told interviewers that he has never heard Mr. Trump utter an inaccuracy or break a promise.

.. “He clearly doesn’t think that Michael Cohen is his Roy Cohn,” said Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer, referring to Mr. Trump’s former mentor and the president’s ideal for a pit bull-like defender. “I think his abusive behavior to Michael is animated by his feeling that Michael is inadequate.”

.. Prosecutors have argued that Mr. Cohen did little actual legal work for Mr. Trump

.. When Mr. Trump ran for president in 2016, Mr. Cohen was given no official role on the campaign.

.. Particularly hurtful to Mr. Cohen was the way Mr. Trump lavished approval on Mr. Lewandowski in a way he never did for Mr. Cohen. When Mr. Cohen told Mr. Trump that he believed that Mr. Lewandowski had been behind a negative story about Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump dismissed the comments as simple jealousy, and didn’t pay attention, according to two people familiar with the incident.