Facebook isn’t deliberately pulling right-wing voices from its platform, despite the suspicions of conservative Congress members, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.
During the second day of his Washington testimony on the Cambridge Analytica data leak, Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) pressed Zuckerberg on what he and many Republicans view as a coordinated blackballing of conservatives by the social network. Long revealed a picture of conservative commentators “Diamond and Silk,” who were recently told by Facebook their content is “unsafe,” and asked Zuckerberg if he knew who they were.
“I believe that is Diamond and Silk?” responded Zuckerberg.
“That is Diamond and Silk, two biological sisters from North Carolina. I’d like to point out they’re African-American. And their content was deemed by your folks to be unsafe,” said Rep. Long. “Diamond and Silk have a question for you and that question is: what is unsafe about two black women supporting President Donald J. Trump?”
“Well congressman, nothing is unsafe about that. The specifics of this situation, I’m not up to speed…” said Zuckerberg, before Rep. Long jumped in to say Facebook should be using its analytics team to see how many conservative voices have been silenced in comparison to liberal commentators.
Diamond and Silk have around 1.4 million Facebook followers, but have said the social network has curtailed the reach of their videos for several months. Rep. Long joined several other Republicans in blasting Facebook’s perceived bias towards conservatives. On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz asked the 33-year-old exec about Facebook’s “pervasive pattern of political bias” — something Zuckerberg shot down and said he was concerned about himself.
“Senator, let me say a few things about this. First, I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely Left leaning place,” said Zuckerberg. “And this is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company is making sure that we don’t have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about.”
Rep. Long added he wasn’t in favor of regulating Facebook, but that it’s recent issues with the data leak might force the hands of lawmakers.
“So far, we’ve done nothing…we’re getting ready to overreact,” said Rep. Long. “So just take that as a shot across the bow warning to you.”