Cruz Grills Zuckerberg on Censorship, Conservative Viewpoints

Ted Cruz Grills Zuckerberg About Facebook's Approach to Political Speech

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, peppered Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg with questions about the social network’s approach to political speech on its platform, asking specifically about concerns that pages associated with conservative viewpoints had been shut down.

 

Senator Ted Cruz, right, questions Mark Zuckerberg, on April 10. 
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

"There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship," Cruz said at a joint hearing of two Senate committees in Washington on Tuesday. He referred to reports in 2016 that Facebook suppressed news from conservative sources in its "trending stories" column.

Cruz asked Zuckerberg whether Facebook was engaged in political speech, citing examples of conservative-leaning pages he said had been shut down, such as Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and posts from a Fox News reporter. He also asked about the political leanings of Facebook employees and whether he had ever fired anyone for their political views.

Zuckerberg answered that he understood where the concern was coming from, because Silicon Valley is "an extremely left-leaning place," but said it’s his company’s job to make sure Facebook doesn’t have any bias in the work it does.

"What I can say is I’m very committed to making sure Facebook is a platform for all ideas," Zuckerberg said. "That is a very important founding principle of what I do."

The CEO also said that Facebook was responsible for the content on its platform, a shift from the usual approach of most technology companies, which generally maintain that individuals or organizations that post, create, solicit or pay for content online should be the ones responsible.

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