Facebook has enlisted a team from law firm Covington and Burling to advise them on combating perceptions of bias against conservatives. One minor detail: Covington and Burling is the firm of Barack Obama’s left-wing former attorney general, Eric Holder.
According to Axios, the team will be led by former Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl. Kyl was a vocal critic of Holder during his time in the Senate, and was rated highly by conservative organizations. After Kyl retired from the Senate, he joined Covington & Burling, where Holder had previously been a high-profile partner.
The former attorney general is still a partner at Covington & Burling, and was recently retained by the state of California for their expected legal showdowns with the Trump Administration. Holder has publicly flirted with the idea of running for president in 2020, telling reporters earlier this year that he would make a decision by the end of 2018.
So, to sum up: Facebook, a California-based company, has enlisted the same firm that is providing legal advice to their state against the Trump administration, through none other than Eric Holder, to advise them on combating perceptions of bias against conservatives.
The Heritage Foundation will also be working with Facebook on the same issue.
According to Axios, the conservative think-tank will “will convene meetings on these issues with Facebook executives.” Klon Kitchen, a former adviser to Sen. Ben Sasse who now works as a tech policy expert at Heritage, has reportedly hosted an event with Facebook’s head of global policy management.
Facebook has recently been engaged in outreach to conservative organizations, but their focus has not been on censorship concerns, but instead on securing free-market allies against the threat of regulation.
One of those allies, Berin Szóka of TechFreedom, told a congressional hearing on social media censorship that regulating social media companies to protect free speech was contrary to conservative values. He did not explain how a market dominated by monopolies like Facebook and Google is still “free.”
Szóka, along with other free-market conservatives, had previously been invited to a meeting with Facebook representatives aimed at fending off the so-called “rush to regulate” the platform, which holds a dominant position in the social media market with over 2 billion users.
It remains to be seen whether Facebook’s introduction of outside advisers is a genuine attempt to address widely-documented cases of anti-conservative bias on the platform — like the recent, purportedly mistaken, bans of Pamela Geller and an anti-illegal immigration group’s event — or just another attempt to fend off regulation.
We have reached out to Facebook, The Heritage Foundation, and the office of former Sen. Jon Kyl for comment.