Conservatives, assemble! Facebook to host bipartisan summit

16 May 2016

After a week in which Facebook was accused of manipulating and supressing news from conservative sources, the social network has confirmed it is to host a summit with leading conservatives to air out any grievances.

Many are increasingly familiar with the concept that what users see on Facebook is not a natural flow of information from friends and liked pages, but rather a giant algorithm churning out a targeted News Feed.

Yet an article published last week allegedly revealing that Facebook is actively manipulating what appears in its trending topics section by suppressing conservative news and opinion has caused considerable controversy among conservative leaders.

Now, according to Re/code, a dozen leading conservatives, including media personality Glenn Beck, will get a chance to meet the social network’s management face-to-face and get a chance to say their piece to founder Mark Zuckerberg.

‘It would be interesting to look him in the eye’

Zuckerberg had confirmed following last week’s news that he was planning on arranging a meeting between himself and conservatives, as well as others from across the political spectrum, to discuss any issues they feel are not addressed on Facebook.

Beck published a post confirming he was to attend this meeting in which he said: “It would be interesting to look him in the eye as he explains and a win for all voices if we can come to a place of real trust with this powerful tool.”

He followed this by saying: “The question that needs to be answered Wednesday is: Will Mark see this as an opportunity to free all points of view but at the same time unify America and the world?”

Beck has accused Facebook and other companies in Silicon Valley of being united in the suppression of conservative voices and ideas, having also said in his post confirming his visit to Facebook: “How does a company who allowed voices to be heard in Iran and Egypt, which sparked revolution, silence voices of anyone here?”

Mark Zuckerberg waxwork image via Panom/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic