Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with prominent US conservatives today to address concerns his social network was censoring news from right-leaning outlets. In a post published on his personal account, Zuckerberg painted the meeting in an uplifting light, saying, "I want to do everything I can to make sure our teams uphold the integrity of our products." He called Facebook "a platform for all ideas," and said the meeting was a way to have an open conversation about building trust and continuing to give everyone an equal voice.
Zuckerberg even included some fascinating statistics about how integral conservative voices are to the continued growth of his company. "Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate," he wrote. "And Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It's not even close."
"Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet."
The meeting was prompted by a high-profile Gizmodo report last week quoting a former Facebook news curator who said the team regularly suppressed conservative news outlets in the Trending Topics section of the site. The report also stated that the news team, many of whom were contract workers, was routinely asked to use an "injection tool" to plant stories from mainstream outlets like The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post, even when those stories were not deemed trending by Facebook's internal algorithms.
The story, parts of which Facebook either denied or played down in a variety of ways, kicked off a fierce debate about the company's role in disseminating information on its platform. The website increasingly functions as a primary source of news for its 1.65 billion active users, and any concern over bias in how it presents those stories has been painted as a threat to free speech and the values Facebook says it stands for.
While it's not clear exactly what was discussed at the meeting, it appears Zuckerberg had a productive conversation. Here's a full list of the conservative luminaries Zuckerberg met with today:
• Jim DeMint (former Republican Senator)
• Jennifer Braceras (conservative commentator)
• Barry Bennett (top Trump campaign aide)
• Glenn Beck (conservative radio host)
• Arthur Brooks (president of the American Enterprise Institute)
• Mary Katharine Ham (journalist and former Fox News contributor)
• Zac Moffatt (former digital director for Mitt Romney)
• Jenny Beth Martin (co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots)
• Jonathan Garthwaite (conservative columnist)
• Dana Perino (former White House press secretary under George W. Bush)
• S.E. Cupp (conservative commentator)
• Tucker Carlson (conservative pundit for Fox News)
• Kristen Soltis Anderson (conservative writer)
• Rob Bluey (vice president of publishing for The Heritage Foundation)
• Brent Bozell (conservative writer and founder of The Media Research Center)
• Alex Skatell (founder of the Independent Journal Review)
• David Bozell (executive director of ForAmerica)
Correction: Due to erroneous information provided by Facebook, this article originally identified Mary Katherine Ham as Mary Katharine Ham Brewer.