Facebook on Wednesday continued to respond to accusations of bias that sparked a firestorm after reports of surfaced last week in Gizmodo that it had suppressed conservative news within its Trending column. Today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with a group of conservative leaders to discuss the controversy and the investigation the company is conducting to determine the accusations' merit. (Facebook has said it has not found any merit to the accusations).
"We've built Facebook to be a platform for all ideas," Zuckerberg said in a post following the meeting. "Our community's success depends on everyone feeling comfortable sharing anything they want."
Still, Zuckerberg admitted that his company has trust issues it needs to resolve. "I know many conservatives don't trust that our platform surfaces content without a political bias," he said. "I wanted to hear their concerns personally and have an open conversation about how we can build trust."
The statement, a straightforward admission of a trust problem, shows the extent of the damage Facebook believes the reports of bias have done.
As Zuckerberg pointed out in his post, U.S. conservatives are a critical Facebook constituency. Donald Trump's Facebook page is followed by millions more people that Hillary Clinton's, and Fox News "drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world," according to Zuckerberg.
Conservative publisher Brent Bozell attended the meeting and told BuzzFeed News he believes Facebook came off as sincere and honest in its effort to rebuild trust with conservatives, many of whom believe there's been an effort to shut down their voices on the platform. "Everyone in that room wants the trust to be restored," he said. "Trust is everything in this business."
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
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