"The Silicon Valley debate is that Zuckerberg is very concerned that the Department of Justice under Bill Barr is launching an enforcement action to liquidate the company," said a cybersecurity researcher and former Silicon Valley-based government official. "The fear is that Zuckerberg is trying to appease the Trump administration by not attacking the right-wing propaganda."
Facebook has been criticized in recent days, even by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, for her advertising policies, which freed politicians from reviewing facts by third parties and facilitating the dissemination of disinformation.
Asked about the rallies, a high-ranking Trump administration official said : "The White House is looking for meaningful steps taken by Facebook on a number of fronts, including" Competition, Freedom of Speech for All, including Conservatives, and Privacy. "
"Nominal reach will not succeed," the official added.
As part of the series, Zuckerberg met with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham earlier this year, pointing out that Facebook had become a monopoly during a recent hearing last year. Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson, who referred to Zuckerberg as contributing to the "death of freedom of speech in America"; and conservative radio talk host Hugh Hewitt, who warned against an enforcement measure by the DOJ but called for a "new regulatory regime" to minimize "big tech bias" to conservatives.
CNN commentator Mary Katharine Ham, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, AEI colleague and former Washington Free Beacon editor Matt Continetti, City Hall editor and Fox News editor Guy Benson, and founder of Media Research Center Brent Bozell also attended the dinner the person who is familiar with the meetings. The Washington Examiner Chief Correspondent and Fox News employee Byron York also confirmed his participation, but refused to disclose the contents of the dinner, as it had previously been agreed that this was confidential.
Graham spokesman confirmed that the South Carolina senator had spoken to Zuckerberg. Carlson, Continetti, Benson, Bozell and Hewitt declined to comment. Ham and Shapiro did not respond to requests for comments. A spokesman for Facebook, who mentioned Zuckerberg's recent meetings with Democrats in Washington, said in a statement, "For years, Mark Zuckerberg has been meeting elected officials and thought leaders across the political spectrum."
Each dinner was hosted by Zuckerberg at one Houses in California, and at least one took about two and a half to three hours. The talks revolve around "freedom of expression, unjust treatment of conservatives, the appeal procedure for genuine or unfair treatment, verification of facts, partnerships and privacy," said the source familiar with the meetings.
"My perception of him was more positive than I expected," this person added, referring to Zuckerberg. "He was receptive and thoughtful." "Said another person who is familiar with the dinner." I think he seriously hoped that it could happen. Sometimes I think that the headwind in Palo Alto is so strong that I do not even believe it can succeed. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey similarly campaigned for conservatives to gain their trust and hosted a private dinner in Washington, DC in July 2018 with GOP politicians and commentators, according to the Washington Post.
Facebook Its policy was changed as follows by Russia's electoral intervention in 2016 to stop the spread of false news and overseas advertisements, but since then the company has also been working to minimize and correct bias in these guidelines. that the company's employees may have suppressed reports from right-wing extremist publications and authors in the "Trend Issues" section.
As part of this effort, the company launched a one-year "conservative bias audit" in 2018 by former Senator Jon Kyl and one Team of its law firms Covington and Burling.  Kyl questioned 133 conservative lawmakers and groups for consideration, which ended in August and led to changes in its advertising policies. It is unclear whether the Zuckerberg dinners are another facet of this project.
Allegations that Facebook is censoring conservatives, however, have remained largely unfounded – conservative publications such as Fox, Breitbart and Shapiro Daily Wire belonged to the top publishers on Facebook, according to the social media tracking company Newswhip last May.
According to a study published in November 2017, Trump's 2016 campaign also used Facebook's offer to embed employees who acted as political activists and critically supported campaign social media operations. (Hillary Clinton's campaign rejected a similar bid.)
Facebook's critics on the left have argued that the company is correcting too much and trying to find favor with the Trump administration, as there is an increasing review of its sloppy Privacy practices and the potential monopoly in social media. "Facebook has made a grave mistake by allowing external political actors to conduct an assessment of corporate policies and practices," said Henry Fernandez, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, after completing the "conservative bias" review in August was.
The ongoing talks between Zuckerberg and prominent Conservatives have caught the attention of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which deals with telecom and consumer protection issues and is "aware" of claims that conservatives are trying to get the refs Before 2020, so a knowledgeable person.
The committee's Democrats sent a previously unreported letter to Facebook in June after a manipulated video by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned viral on the platform and asked what the company was doing to combat "disseminating political disinformation through real Accounts "undertook.
"We fear that you and your company are not taking these events seriously and are roughly unprepared for the 2020 elections," they wrote. "In particular, we fear that there may be a conflict of interest between the final outcome of Facebook and the immediate resolution of political disinformation on your platform."
Kevin Martin, vice president of US policy, responded three weeks later in a letter also from POLITICO. He said that the company worked with third-party fact-finding vendors to "remove false accounts, disrupt the financial incentives to disseminate false and misleading information" and inform users "when they read or share information (except for Satire and "By 2020, we know that tackling misinformation is one of the most important things we can do," Martin wrote.
But the social media giant has recently come under fire because of its advertising policies Politicians – whether directly on their Facebook page, in an ad or on their website – consider "direct speech and not suitable for our third party" -party-fact checking program. "In line with this policy, Facebook has admitted that A trump campaign ad that keeps false claims about Joe Biden's ties to Ukraine remains on the platform. [19659002WarrenwhoproposedtobreakupFacebookAmazonandothertechnologygiantstestedthelimitsofthispolicylastweekbypostinganadthatpurportedlymadefalseclaimsthatZukcerbergandFacebooksupportedTrump'sre-election
"When Trump tries to lie in a television ad, most networks reject the broadcast," Warren's ad claims. "But Facebook only trumps Trump's checks – Facebook helped out with the election of Donald Trump, and now they deliberately allow a candidate to lie to the American people – it's time to hold Mark Zuckerberg to account – add your name if you agree. "
Facebook struck back on Saturday night and compared the company's policy regarding the speech of candidates to that of the Federal Communications Commission.
" The FCC does not want that broadcasting companies are censoring candidates' speech, "the company tweeted." We agree that it's better to let voters – not companies – decide. "
Zuckerberg held a meeting with half a dozen last month Senators starting to discuss what Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) Said at that time described an opportunity for lawmakers to voice their concerns regarding the role of Facebook in America expressing Canaan democracy directly with the founder of the company. On the same trip to Washington, Zuckerberg also met Trump, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and White House social media director, Dan Scavino.
He is due to testify in Washington next week to the House Financial Services Committee, where he will discuss Facebook's controversial Cryptocurrency plans.