A range of conservative pundits and politicians including Hugh Hewitt, Tucker Carlson, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have met privately with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to a report in Politico.
Zuckerberg’s outreach to conservative is part of a wider effort to blunt scrutiny and potential regulation from the political right, which has exposed Facebook and other big tech companies for censorship and bias against conservatives. Breitbart News has reported exclusively on Facebook’s “hate agents” list, which the company uses to monitor high-profile political figures for potential banning.
Politico reports that the meetings were hosted at one of Zuckerberg’s homes in California, and lasted two to three hours. A source familiar with the situation told Politico that the conversations revolved around “free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives, the appeals process for real or perceived unfair treatment, fact checking, partnerships, and privacy.”
According to Politico, those who met privately with Zuckerberg include:
- Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Matt Continetti (See also: Google Funds Establishment Conservatives to Fight Tech Regulation)
- Talk show host Hugh Hewitt
- TownHall.com editor Guy Benson
- Fox News host Tucker Carlson
- Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell
- Washington Examiner correspondent Byron York
Merely attending the meetings doesn’t imply agreement with Zuckerberg or his policies, but the individuals who spoke to Politico about the meetings indicate that at least some of the attendees are being won over by the Facebook CEO’s charm offensive.
“I’ve always thought that he wanted to make things right by conservatives,” one person familiar with the dinners told Politico. “I think he’s been genuine in hoping that might happen. Sometimes I think the headwinds are so strong in Palo Alto that I don’t think even he can succeed.”
“My perception of him was more positive than I anticipated,” another person familiar with the meetings told Politico. “He was receptive and thoughtful.”
“I’m under no illusions that he’s a conservative but I think he does care about some of our concerns,” said another.
Read the full report at Politico.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.