Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Berlin.
© POOL New / Reuters REUTERS
By Jonathan Vanian
May 19, 2016

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with conservatives on Wednesday in an effort to counter allegations that the social network suppresses right-wing articles and news sources.

“I know many conservatives don’t trust that our platform surfaces content without a political bias,” he said in a Facebook post after the meeting. “I wanted to hear their concerns personally and have an open conversation about how we can build trust.”

The meeting comes after a recent news report alleged that Facebook (fb) workers routinely resisted adding links to conservative-leaning stories in its trending news list. The report set off a firestorm of criticism among conservatives and prompted the head of the Senate Commerce Committee to send the company questions about any political bias.

Zuckerberg wrote that he discussed the issue on Wednesday with a “dozen leading conservatives” without naming them. A Los Angeles Times report said they included television hosts Glenn Beck and Dana Perino, and Barry Bennett, a senior advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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Zuckerburg’s post attempted to counter the notions of bias as he writes that “the Facebook community includes more than 1.6 billion people of every background and ideology – from liberal to conservative and everything in between.”

“We’ve built Facebook to be a platform for all ideas,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Our community’s success depends on everyone feeling comfortable sharing anything they want. It doesn’t make sense for our mission or our business to suppress political content or prevent anyone from seeing what matters most to them.”

He added: The reality is, conservatives and Republicans have always been an important part of Facebook. Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate. And Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It’s not even close.”

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From the post:

This afternoon I hosted more than a dozen leading conservatives to talk about how we can make sure Facebook continues to be a platform for all ideas across the political spectrum.

Silicon Valley has a reputation for being liberal. But the Facebook community includes more than 1.6 billion people of every background and ideology — from liberal to conservative and everything in between.

We’ve built Facebook to be a platform for all ideas. Our community’s success depends on everyone feeling comfortable sharing anything they want. It doesn’t make sense for our mission or our business to suppress political content or prevent anyone from seeing what matters most to them.

The reality is, conservatives and Republicans have always been an important part of Facebook. Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate. And Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It’s not even close.

Still, I know many conservatives don’t trust that our platform surfaces content without a political bias. I wanted to hear their concerns personally and have an open conversation about how we can build trust. I want to do everything I can to make sure our teams uphold the integrity of our products.

Thank you to everyone who rearranged their schedules and made sacrifices to be here today. It’s important that Facebook remains a platform for all ideas and that we continue to give every person a voice.

 

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