Meta COO Sandberg ‘threatened’ UK outlet from publishing story on her ex-boyfriend

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Meta (formerly Facebook), is reportedly facing internal scrutiny over using her influence to bury two stories about her former boyfriend, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, in a popular UK media outlet.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Sandberg put pressure on the Daily Mail not to publish stories about a restraining order filed against Kotick by his former girlfriend.

“In 2016 and 2019, Sandberg contacted the digital edition of the Daily Mail (MailOnline), which was reporting on a story that would have revealed the existence of a temporary restraining order against Kotick that had been obtained by a former girlfriend in 2014,” the report said late on Thursday.

According to the report citing sources, Kotick said that Sandberg threatened the Mail in 2016, stating that any article published about the restraining order could damage the publication’s relationship with Facebook.

Kotick denied this, telling the Journal: “I never said anything like that.”

On both occasions, the story did not run.

Now, Meta is reportedly investigating if Sandberg potentially violated company policy.

However, a Meta spokeswoman said that “Sheryl Sandberg never threatened MailOnline’s business relationship with Facebook in order to influence an editorial decision”.

According to reports, Kotick has his own history of harassment and abusive behaviour during his 30 years at Activision Blizzard, the maker of popular games like Call of Duty (CoD) which has now been acquired by Microsoft for $68.7 billion.

Sandberg has written a book titled ‘Lean In’ and founded the LeanIn.org nonprofit foundation.

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