‘Nominal outreach won’t cut it…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Democrats seethed and launched a hashtag campaign to #DeleteFacebook after the social-media giant‘s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, sought to reach out to long aggrieved right-wing influencers.
Politico reported on Monday that over the past several months the mega-billionaire has been flying conservative journalists, pundits and lawmakers to his Silicon Valley home for off-the-record dinners to discuss potential partnerships.
Among the notable attendees were Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“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.”
Ironically, Zuckerberg reportedly expressed his concerns recently that radical progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., one of the leading Democratic primary candidates, would also pursue antitrust policies that were hostile to Facebook.
“You have someone like Elizabeth Warren thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies,” Zuckerberg said during a July Q&A with Facebook employees that was leaked to media. “… I mean, if she gets elected president then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge.”
Warren was one of several high-profile Democrats last week who criticized Facebook for being one of several major media platforms that refused to pull an ad from President Donald Trump targeting fellow candidate Joe Biden.
The Biden campaign had demanded that the ad, attacking the former vice president on allegations of his corrupt Ukraine dealings, be pulled. While some major left-wing news operations, such as CNN, proudly acquiesced, many others—including Fox and MSNBC—refused.
Facebook changed their ads policy to allow politicians to run ads with known lies—explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine. This week, we decided to see just how far it goes.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019
A Facebook spokesperson dismissed the complaints from the Left while coyly suggesting—contrary to evidence—that the company has always maintained a bipartisan approach.
“For years, Mark Zuckerberg has met with elected officials and thought leaders all across the political spectrum,” said the spokesperson.
However, a Trump administration official confirmed that the outreach was part of a deliberate effort to counteract the systemic political bias against conservative speech, including bans of several right-wing pundits and questionable fact-checking practices.
“[T]he White House is looking for meaningful steps from Facebook on a number of fronts,” the official told Politico, among them: “competition, free speech for everybody including conservatives, and privacy.”
Although Zuckerberg has paid lip-service to such things in the past, “Nominal outreach won’t cut it,” the official said.
Other prominent conservatives present during the series of meetings included CNN commentator Mary Katherine Hamm, Town Hall editor Guy Benson, Washington Examiner columnist Byron York, Media Research Center head Brent Bozell and columnist/radio host Ben Shapiro.
A source familiar with the dinner talks said they were productive and that Zuckerberg seemed sincere about wanting to address concerns.
“I’ve always thought that he wanted to make things right by conservatives,” said the source.
“I think he’s been genuine in hoping that might happen,” the source continued. “Sometimes I think the headwinds are so strong in Palo Alto that I don’t think even he can succeed.”
Leftist critics, meanwhile, vented their spleen while pointing to previous overtures, including an audit conducted earlier this year by former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
“Zuckerberg’s efforts to bend over backwards to please Republicans frothing over conspiracy theories that Facebook systematically silences conservative voices aren’t exactly new,” whined Gizmodo. “The company’s half-hearted efforts to fight rampant disinformation has reportedly long been plagued by fears of right-wing backlash.”
Newsweek used negative reaction on Twitter to attack the dialogue, noting that the #DeleteFacebook hashtag was trending.
I stopped actively posting on @Facebook in 2016 after it was revealed that it helped elect the orange fecal smear. Now #DeleteFacebook seems like the best course of action. Yes, I’m still on IG but I feel it does less to push the trump agenda. Less older white supremacists. 👌🏻 https://t.co/D5jOTqjyAQ
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) October 14, 2019