Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Monday confirmed reports that he had hosted a series of dinners with right-wing figures, as the social media platform stands accused of stifling conservative voices.
Zuckerberg held small, off-the-record dinners with journalists, commentators and at least one Republican lawmaker to talk about free speech, partnerships and other issues, the Politico news website said.
“There’s some press today discussing dinners I’ve had with conservative politicians, media and thinkers,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
“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!”
Politico said that guests at recent events, held at Zuckerberg’s various homes in California, included Fox News host Tucker Carlson, radio talk host Hugh Hewitt and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
US President Donald Trump has often complained that social media outlets discriminate against him and his supporters, without providing evidence.
Politico said the dinners, which began in July, were part of Zuckerberg’s efforts to communicate with conservatives amid the accusations from Trump and his allies of bias.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have been under pressure to reduce the spread of lies and misinformation.
But the platforms have also allowed politicians including Trump leeway over their user rules, seeking to avoid quashing debate and to keep “newsworthy” content online.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden recently asked Facebook to take down “debunked” claims in a Trump ad, only to be rebuffed.
‘Complete and utter moron’: Anti-mask Republican derided after he ‘dismantles himself’ amid grilling from CNN host
Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) is facing a backlash online after appearing Wednesday on CNN to argue against mask mandates, which are intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Sabatini told CNN host Brianna Keilar that mask mandates were a violation of Florida's constitution. "This is something government has never done before. We've never had government telling people what you have to do with your own face," he said.
Governor who repeatedly refused masks and social distancing is ‘pretty shocked’ he’s been infected with coronavirus
Oklahoma's Governor Kevin Stitt who became internet infamous when he posted a photo of himself and his family having a great time in a crowded restaurant amid the start of the coronavirus pandemic has contracted the virus and says he "pretty shocked" he's positive.
"I feel fine," Stitt said, Tulsa World reports, noting the 47-year old Republican is "just a little achy." "I was pretty shocked that I was the first governor to get it."
Florida man caught on video pulling gun and threatening to kill shopper who asked him to wear a mask
A man shopping in a Florida Walmart pulled a gun and threatened to kill a shopper who asked him to wear a mask, according to police, NBC Miami reports.
Surveillance video shows an unmasked man pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair in the store this Saturday. A masked shopper approaches the pair and words are exchanged, prompting the man to give the masked shopper the middle finger. Soon after, the man pulls a gun from his waistband, allegedly threatening to kill the shopper before he leaves the store.