Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting a series of confidential dinners with conservative politicians and pundits, Politico reports. Earlier this year, Zuckerberg dined with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an outspoken critic of Facebook who insinuated during a congressional hearing last year that the company is a monopoly. Zuckerberg also reportedly met with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said in May that the Silicon Valley tycoon is “prescribing which political opinions you’re allowed to hold,” and is a major contributor to “the death of free speech in America.” Carlson declined to comment on whether he has since sat down with the CEO.
Facebook has faced outrage from President Trump and his allies over alleged “bias” against conservatives on the site. Conservative publications, including Fox, Breitbart, and Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire, however, have been some of the top publishers on Facebook, according to data published in May from the social media tracking firm Newswhip. The off-the-record dinners have reportedly been held at Zuckerberg’s homes, with conversation topics that focus on “free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives, the appeals process for real or perceived unfair treatment, fact checking, partnerships, and privacy,” according to a source familiar with the meetings.
Zuckerberg confirmed the Politico report via Facebook on Monday. “There’s some press today discussing dinners I’ve had with conservative politicians, media and thinkers. To be clear, I have dinners with lots of people across the spectrum on lots of different issues all the time,” he wrote. “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!”