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Mark Zuckerberg has been holding private dinners with conservatives

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  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting private dinners and off-the-record dinners with conservative leaders, pundits, and journalists since July, Politico reported Monday
  • Attendees at these meetings, hosted at Zuckerberg’s California homes, have included Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
  • Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have long claimed social media companies are censoring conservative speech. 
  • Meanwhile, Democrats have slammed Facebook for allowing politicians to publish ads on its site that aren’t subject to third-party fact-checking. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting private dinners and off-the-record dinners with conservative leaders, pundits, and journalists since July, Politico reported Monday

Attendees at these meetings, hosted at Zuckerberg’s California homes, have included Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro, and conservative CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham. 

While Democrats have repeatedly expressed outrage over Facebook’s failure to stem the flow of disinformation on its site, Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have long claimed social media companies are censoring conservative speech. 

Zuckerberg is reportedly engaged in this wide-ranging effort to reach out to conservatives as a way to calm right-wing calls to crack down on the company. In June, Trump vaguely threatened to sue Google and Facebook. 

Read more: Carpe Donktum, the pro-Trump ‘memesmith’ who visited the White House, is working with the creator of the fake Trump church massacre video

“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. 

Facebook has come under political fire after its recent decision to allow politicians to publish ads on its site that aren’t subject to third-party fact-checking. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading 2020 candidate, intentionally published an ad falsely stating that Zuckerberg had endorsed the president as a way to draw attention to her concern over the Facebook ad policy change. 

Discussions at the meetings have revolved around “free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives, the appeals process for real or perceived unfair treatment, fact checking, partnerships, and privacy,” a source told Politico

Trump has long claimed that social media companies and search engines are deliberately censoring him and his followers. 

“What they did to me on Twitter is incredible,” Trump said in an interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo in June. “You know I have millions and millions of followers but I will tell you they make it very hard for people to join me at Twitter and then make it very much harder for me to get out the message.”

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