By David Montanaro
Published October 18, 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked by Fox News' Dana Perino in an exclusive interview whether he believes bias against conservatives exists in Silicon Valley, as many on the right have long claimed.
"I haven’t seen a lot of data that suggest that there’s a negative impact," Zuckerberg answered during the sit-down, which airs in full Friday on "The Daily Briefing."
He argued that many conservative media platforms perform "quite well" on Facebook and other sites, pointing out that California is overwhelmingly liberal and he understands why there are suspicions.
"California is an overwhelmingly left-leaning place. If you look at the political donations from the tech companies, it’s 90-plus percent of them go towards Democratic candidates, so I understand why people would ask the question of 'are my ideas getting a fair shake.' And all that I can say on this is this is something I care deeply about. I want to make sure we can be a platform for all ideas," he said.
Earlier in the interview, Perino asked Zuckerberg about Sen. Kamala Harris' demand that Twitter shut down President Trump's account, which he uses regularly to share his views on a multitude of issues.
Zuckerberg said Silicon Valley shouldn't be taking such actions.
"I generally believe that as a principle, people should decide what is credible and what they want to believe, who they want to vote for," he said. "And I don’t think that should be something that we want tech companies or any kind of company doing."
Earlier this month, Harris, D-Calif., claimed Trump was using Twitter to inappropriately criticize an intelligence community whistleblower who filed a complaint regarding the president's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
A few months back, the Menlo Park, Calif. firm conducted a yearlong audit in consultation with 133 conservative organizations or politicians. The audit, led by former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, found that interviewees had concerns about Facebook's content distribution and algorithms, content policies and enforcement, ad policies and ad enforcement, and workplace viewpoint diversity.
It concluded the company needs to do "significant work" to satisfy the concerns of conservatives over alleged bias, though it prompted a backlash from conservatives and liberals alike.
"Merely asking somebody to listen to conservatives' concerns isn't an 'audit,' it's a smokescreen disguised as a solution," said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., in August, calling on Facebook to conduct a third-party audit.
Hawley said last month Zuckerberg was "stunned" when he demanded in a face-to-face meeting on Capitol Hill that Facebook "open up" their books and make employees available for interviews.