May 19, 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with 16 conservative leaders Wednesday over allegations of liberal bias on the part the social media giant. Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and Vice President of Publishing Rob Bluey were among those participating.
“Mark Zuckerberg reaffirmed his commitment to give everyone a voice on Facebook,” said Bluey after the meeting. “That’s a noble goal and we’ll watch to see how it pans out.”
Characterizing the discussion as “quite positive,” Bluey noted that there is bound to be “some lingering distrust of Facebook’s professions of ideological neutrality.”
The Heritage Foundation has actively used Facebook for eight years, building an audience of 2 million likes and 600,000 likes for The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization led by Bluey
Recent news reports indicate that 80 percent of political donations from Facebook employees have gone to liberals. “This lopsided level of donating certainly creates the perception that Facebook’s team is overwhelmingly liberal,” Bluey said, adding that “Showing a commitment to intellectual diversity by hiring conservatives would help alleviate those concerns.”
"Being more transparent about exactly how they determine what’s ‘trending’ and how they decide whether or not to block certain posts or even entire pages would also help ease suspicions that Facebook tilts left,” he said.
Bluey dismissed the idea of government intervention to address bias concerns, however. “Conservatives don’t want government to interfere with technological innovators like Facebook,” he said. “We believe that, as a private organization, Facebook can manage its affairs however it wants.”
As for the future, Bluey said, “This meeting needs to be the start, not the end of the conversation. Many conservatives clearly don’t trust Facebook. To change that, Facebook must continue building relationships with the conservative movement.”
You can watch Rob in his interview with NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt