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.
Appeals court again rejects Trump’s attempt to hide his financial records from Congress — and SCOTUS will likely weigh in: report
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that the full panel of judges on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has upheld a lower court's decision requiring President Donald Trump's accounting firm to turn over several years of financial records to Congress.
The decision was 8 to 3, with two of the dissenters judges Trump appointed. Among the majority was Chief Judge Merrick Garland, who was famously denied a Supreme Court appointment by Republicans so they could cement an ideological takeover of the judiciary.
MSNBC panel mocks Devin Nunes for trying to ‘out-crazy’ everyone in the impeachment hearing
During his Wednesday show with former Republican Rep. David Jolly and "The Root" editor Jason Johnson, MSNBC host Chris Matthews couldn't help but note Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) seemed like a weird outlier during the impeachment hearings.
"It was certainly an interesting show. Everyone seemed to be doing their own thing," Matthews said. "I’m not sure what Nunes was up to. He didn’t seem to be a leader of the pack here, he was doing this out-crazy peripheral stuff about Hunter Biden and Ukraine in 2016 and trying to get the whistle-blower exposed. None of that had to do with the conversations President Trump had with Zelensky or the whole cabal to shake this guy down for dirt on Biden. He was just walking around the far fringes of the topic."
Republicans want people to become numb to what they already know is true: Dan Rather
On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," longtime reporter Dan Rather highlighted one of the final strategies Republicans have left to try to blunt the public's enthusiasm for impeachment: Desensitize them to the facts that are damning for President Donald Trump.
"What jumped out to me today is the effort by the Republicans to sort of say, listen, everybody knows all of this," said Rather. "They seek to have people become numb to what we already know. That’s what jumped out to me today, because we already know that the evidence we’re talking about now, the solicitation of a foreign power to get involved in our election, the evidence is strong."