The public seems to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, the world’s most popular social media platform. While loudly complaining about the injustices of the site, people still log on multiple times a day to see what their friends are doing, share pictures of meals they’ve prepared, or let everyone know that they are goofing off at work instead of doing their jobs. Mark Zuckerberg, online media mogul and Facebook CEO, has come under a great deal of fire lately on everything from allowing interference in the 2016 election to suppressing conservative voices. Now liberals are up in arms, demanding to #DeleteFacebook after finding out that Zuckerberg has had the audacity to host dinners with some conservative movers and shakers.
Dinner Date with Zuckerberg
Since around July of this year, Zuckerberg has been holding off-the-record meetings with top name conservatives. According to Politico, guests included Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, podcaster Ben Shapiro, Townhall editor and Fox contributor Guy Benson, and American Enterprise Institute fellow and former Washington Free Beacon editor Matt Continetti, among others. Most of the time, these meetings were held at one of Zuckerberg’s California homes over informal dinners. Politico did not name sources, referring to the informants as people familiar with the events. One person reportedly said, “I’m under no illusions that he’s [Zuckerberg] a conservative but I think he does care about some of our concerns.”
Democrats pouted and instantly did what they do best: call to silence the opposition with their newest #DeleteFacebook Twitter campaign. Never mind that Facebook has been criticized for squelching the conservative voice on its social platform. Even employees have come forward to allege that some workers at the company actively restricted right-leaning news stories. Perhaps the CEO was just trying to find solutions to these accusations and a way to climb out of the boiling cauldron of water in which he’s found himself.
The left, however, sees this as Zuckerberg bowing down to the Trump administration. The outraged are claiming this is just a conservative tactic to drive the 2020 election toward the Republican home-court advantage and an appeasement attempt by Facebook to avoid legal action from a disgruntled administration. “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 and former government official told Politico. “So the fear is that Zuckerberg is trying to appease the Trump administration by not cracking down on right-wing propaganda.” In June, President Trump threatened to sue Facebook and Google and has also directed the Justice Department to consider taking action against the social media platforms.
One source said the dinner conversations centered around “free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives, the appeals process for real or perceived unfair treatment, fact checking, partnerships, and privacy.” After news of the events splashed across the internet, Zuckerberg posted on Facebook:
“There’s some press today discussing dinners I’ve had with conservative politicians, media and thinkers. To be clear, I have dinners with lots of people across the spectrum on lots of different issues all the time. Meeting new people and hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do!”
An interesting point, Mr. Zuckerberg.
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