The great media watch on Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters came to an end on Wednesday night as more than a dozen conservative thinkers, pundits, and strategists emerged from their much anticipated meeting with the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg invited the conservative crew to chat with him in California after a recent Gizmodo story alleged that Facebook was suppressing right-leaning headlines in the company’s “Trending News” box.
Conservative radio host Glenn Beck, who arrived by private jet on Wednesday afternoon, posted a Facebook video as he landed.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen out of this, I’m just really anxious to hear what they have to say,” Beck said.
Beck was joined by former Senator Jim DeMint; Donald Trump’s senior policy advisor Barry Bennett, American Enterprise President Arthur Brooks; pundit Mary Katharine Ham Brewer; Targeted Victory co-founder Zac Moffatt; co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin; columnist Jonathan Garthwaite; Fox News commentator Dana Perino; CNN commentator SE Cupp; correspondent and pundit Tucker Carlson; Republican polster Kristen Soltis Anderson; Heritage Foundation Vice President Rob Bluey; political consultant Alex Skatell; ForAmerica Executive Director David Bozell; Media Research Center director Brent Bozell; and commentator Jennifer Braceras.
Attendees spoke with Zuckerberg and Facebook executives about their experience with the platform, and discussed “Trending Topics.” They were offered a training session how to better use the site to engage their audiences that included a look at Facebook Live and Instant Articles. They also received a demo on the VR headset Oculus and a tour of the company’s headquarters.
After the meeting Zuckerberg put out a statement on Facebook, reiterating that he wanted the site to be a platform for diverse ideas.
“Silicon Valley has a reputation for being liberal. But the Facebook community includes more than 1.6 billion people of every background and ideology — from liberal to conservative and everything in between,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Our community’s success depends on everyone feeling comfortable sharing anything they want. It doesn’t make sense for our mission or our business to suppress political content or prevent anyone from seeing what matters most to them.”
Zuckerberg acknowledged that conservative outlets were important to the company’s past and future success. “The reality is, conservatives and Republicans have always been an important part of Facebook. Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate. And Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It’s not even close.”