Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked by Senator Ted Cruz today if he considers Facebook to be “a neutral public forum”? Cruz then went on to cite an article from Gizmodo that accused Facebook of purposefully suppressing the trending of several conservative stories, including stories about the IRS-Lois Lerner scandal, stories about Mitt Romney. Cruz went on to cite a Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day page that shut was shut down by Facebook, as well as over 2 dozen Catholic pages that were shut down, and most recently, Cruz mentioned the Diamond and Silk page, that has over 1.2 million followers that was “blocked” after Facebook determining that they were “unsafe” to the community. Cruz then told Zuckerberg, “To a great many Americans that appears to be a pervasive pattern of bias.” “Do you agree with this?” Cruz asked the Facebook CEO.
Zuckerberg, who appeared to be clearly agitated with the line of questioning replied to Cruz: “First, I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in the Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place. And, this is actually a concern I have, and I try to route out in the company, is making sure that we don’t have any is bias in the work that we do.”
Cruz then switched gears and asked Zuckerberg if he was aware of any left-leaning pages on Facebook like moveon.org, for instance, that have been shut down? Lastly, in a very unexpected line of questioning, Cruz wanted Zuckerberg to explain to the Senators why Palmer Luckey was fired?
Here’s a transcript of their conversation:
Ted Cruz: “As CEO, have you ever made hiring or firing decisions based on political positions or what candidates [employees] supported?”
Mark Zuckerberg: “No.”
Cruz: “Why was Palmer Luckey fired?”
Zuckerberg: “That is a specific personnel matter that seems like it would be inappropriate to speak to here.”
Cruz: “You just made a specific representation that you didn’t make decisions based on political views. Is that accurate?”
Zuckerberg: “I can commit that it was not because of a political view.”
So, who is Palmer Luckey?
According to Tech Crunch, Luckey left Facebook last March, after reports surfaced that he was a member of a pro-Trump troll farm called Nimble America.
Luckey’s departure follows a lengthy period of absence from public view brought about by a Daily Beast piece revealing his involvement and funding of a pro-Trump troll group called Nimble America. News of his support came during a time when very few figures in Silicon Valley were publicly showing support for candidate Trump, the most notable being Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook who started the VC firm Founders Fund, which backed Oculus, as well.
Though Luckey initially denied funding the group, he ultimately took to social media to apologize in the midst of an upheaval that had many developers threatening to leave the platform. His last public statement (on Facebook, of course) was a mixture of regret and defense, reading, in part, “I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners. The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views… my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.”
How unbiased can Facebook be, when their COO openly campaigned and contributes to Democrat candidate’s campaigns and liberal causes?
The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, has maxed out political donations to a number of Democratic candidates including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) this cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Sandberg, who has embarked on a Facebook “apology tour” over its Cambridge Analytica data scandal, admitted that the social media giant knew that the firm had mishandled data two and half years ago but failed to act at the time.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday testified in front of Congress on the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
However, Zuckerberg’s testimony transcript skips from the year 2007 to 2013 and makes no mention of the company’s assistance to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. Many members of the committees have been recipients of campaign cash from the Facebook Inc. PAC, the political action committee of the company. Zuckerberg has only donated $5,000 this election cycle, all of which went to Facebook’s PAC.
Sandberg, on the other hand, has given generously to Democrats this cycle.
Only two days before the 2016 presidential election, ABC News suggested that Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, could be on the short list for Democrat candidate for President Hillary Clinton as a possible treasury secretary.
Sandberg has sent $25,000 to WOMEN VOTE!, a progressive PAC associated with EMILY’s List, a group that focuses on electing pro-choice Democratic women.
Sandberg has given maxed out donations ($5,400) to the campaigns of Reps. Pelosi, Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), Zoe Lofgren (D., Calif.), and other representatives.
Sandberg also added maxed out contributions to the campaigns of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.).
The Facebook COO, who has not contributed to any Republicans this cycle, has donated overwhelmingly to Democrats in the past.
In addition to the donations, Sandberg appeared in the hacked emails of John Podesta, the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
A pdf file discovered by the Free Beacon that was attached to one of the emails spoke of ‘discreet conversations’ about forming ‘working relationships’ between the Clinton campaign and the likes of Facebook and Apple. That memo referenced the work being done for the Clinton campaign by a group linked to Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.