Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with Glenn Beck and other leading conservatives this week to discuss allegations of political bias in the social network's Trending Topics section. In a Facebook post on Sunday, Beck said Zuckerberg's office had called him about the meeting, and that he wanted to "look [Zuckerberg] in the eye as he explains."
A spokesperson for the social network confirmed to Reuters that the meeting will be taking place on Wednesday, and that Beck is one of 12 "conservative thought leaders" invited. Others include Dana Perino, co-host of Fox News Channel’s "The Five," and Zac Moffatt, the former digital director of Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, and co-founder of a targeted advertising company.
Facebook has denied any allegations of bias
Facebook was accused of political bias earlier this month, when a former news editor for the site told Gizmodo that certain conservative topics were routinely suppressed. Facebook denied the allegations, saying that its news curators selected topics based on "real world events," and were instructed to simply "disregard junk or duplicate topics, hoaxes, or subjects with insufficient sources."
Zuckerberg later said that Facebook "found no evidence" that the allegations reported by Gizmodo were true, and that the company is conducting a full investigation "to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of [the Trending Topics product]." A US Senate committee has also opened an investigation into the issue, saying it is a matter of "transparency and honesty."
In Beck's Sunday night Facebook post, he said that the social network "truly is the only communal experience we now have in some ways." He writes that while he supports Facebook's right to operate "without government interference, it would be wonderful if a tool like face book [sic] INDEPENDENTLY CHOSE to hold up Freedom of speech and freedom of association as a corporate principle."
"I will stand for any man's right to be truly free and run his business the way he sees fit," wrote Beck, adding that, "It will make [a] lasting difference if [Zuckerberg] actually wants a place where all ideas are treated equally, even those he, or 'they', may disagree with."