Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that Silicon Valley is an “extremely left-leaning place” but said he tries to make sure his firm doesn’t “have bias in the work that we do.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, questioned the social-media mogul about a long-running concern conservatives have that Facebook and other Silicon Valley tech firms have a clear bias against users on the right side of the political spectrum.
“A great many Americans are deeply concerned Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,” Mr. Cruz said.
Appearing before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees to explore the massive social networking company’s recent failures protecting private data and inability to stop the spread of fake news during the 2016 presidential election — Mr. Zuckerberg countered that Facebook was “a platform for all ideas.”
But Mr. Cruz interrupted and argued content from more conservative companies, including Chik-fil-A, had been removed whereas posts from Planned Parenthood and other progressive outfits, had not.
Mr. Zuckerberg replied that he was unaware of the deleted posts and explained that Facebook regularly removed content related to terrorism or hate speech or self harm.
Mr. Cruz, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has argued in the past the Facebook has policies and algorithms that effectively “shadow ban” conservatives.
On Tuesday, the Texas Republican also grilled Mr. Zuckerberg over Facebook’s hiring policies, pressing the CEO to explain the firing of Palmer Luckey — a virtual-realty executive who supported Donald Trump.
Mr. Zuckerberg explained Mr. Luckey’s departure had nothing to do with politics and was a personnel matter.
“We don’t ask people their political affiliation when they are hired,” Mr. Zuckerberg told the hearing.