It was revealed on Monday that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been holding off-the-record dinners at his home with top conservative thought leaders hoping to curry favor with them and form alliances.
Politico reported that Zuckerberg started his dinner series in July in an attempt to mitigate a public relations disaster as President Donald Trump accuses his monolithic corporation of “bias.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
It was widely reported over the summer that President Trump is looking into executive action that would stop Facebook and other leftist-dominated tech firms from engaging in viewpoint discrimination against conservatives.
“The discussion in Silicon Valley is that Zuckerberg is very concerned about the Justice Department, under Bill Barr, bringing an enforcement action to break up the company,” a cybersecurity researcher who formerly worked in the government told Politico. “So the fear is that Zuckerberg is trying to appease the Trump administration by not cracking down on right-wing propaganda.”
Zuckerberg is clearly concerned about the White House, and is attempting to curry favor with conservative thought leaders in a last-ditch attempt to weaken the administration’s resolve.
“I’m under no illusions that he’s a conservative but I think he does care about some of our concerns,” said one right-leaning individual who is aware of Zuckerberg’s influence-peddling strategy.
Individuals Zuckerberg has reportedly dined with include Fox News host Tucker Carlson, talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell, neoconservative Sen. Lindsey Graham, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York, Town Hall editor Guy Benson, think-tank contributor Matt Continetti, and ‘Never Trump’ crusader Ben Shapiro.
A spokesperson for Facebook downplayed the importance of the gatherings, saying, “For years, Mark Zuckerberg has met with elected officials and thought leaders all across the political spectrum.”
A source close to the situation told Politico that Zuckerberg talked with the right-wing personalities about “free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives, the appeals process for real or perceived unfair treatment, fact checking, partnerships, and privacy.”
However, Zuckerberg is in a no-win situation where everyone across the political spectrum is angry at him. Opportunistic politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pressure him from the Left, demanding that Facebook act as a truth commission in order to censor President Trump heading into the 2020 presidential election.
We intentionally made a Facebook ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook’s ad platform to see if it’d be approved. It got approved quickly and the ad is now running on Facebook. Take a look: pic.twitter.com/7NQyThWHgO
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019
Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a stern letter to Facebook in June, warning Zuckerberg that he must censor any information that makes their political party look bad or face the consequences.
“We are concerned that you and your company are not taking these occurrences seriously and are grossly unprepared for the 2020 election,” they wrote. “Specifically, we are concerned that there may be a potential conflict of interest between Facebook’s bottom line and immediately addressing political disinformation on your platform.”
“Leading up to 2020 we know that combating misinformation is one of the most important things we can do,” Facebook’s vice president of U.S. public policy, Kevin Martin wrote back to the Democrats.
Facebook’s balancing act is not succeeding, and even if they do buy off a handful of conservative talkers, it likely will not be enough to convince President Trump to relent. Zuckerberg may fall short of achieving his Big Brother goals.
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