Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Fox News for an exclusive interview with Dana Perino earlier today, in which he repeatedly stressed his commitment to free expression — but he did not address the issue of the numerous prominent conservatives who are still banned from the platform.
Zuckerberg said it was “important to stand up for voice and free expression, here and around the world,” and cautioned against the growing impulse “that a lot of people have, to pull back on free expression.”
“This isn’t the first time that’s happened. We saw that during the civil rights movement, during tension after the world wars, and we always look back and regret it when we pull back on freedom of expression, and I worry that we’re at a moment today where we may do the same.”
The Facebook CEO also criticized what he said was a “social trend today where I see more people across the spectrum trying to label different speech as dangerous because it may lead to political outcomes they don’t want.”
However, Perino did not ask Zuckerberg about the multiple high-profile conservatives who are still banned from the platform for being allegedly “dangerous.”
The Facebook CEO was also not asked about his platform’s list of potential “hate agents,” which it uses to monitor high-profile political figures for potential banning, or its “deboosting” technology, which company whistleblowers say has been used to suppress the content of mainstream conservatives.
She did, however, raise Elizabeth Warren’s allegation that Facebook is willing to take money for ads from politicians even if the platform knows “that the information a politician is putting forward is false.”
“I just think that in a democracy, it’s important for people to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” responded Zuckerberg.
“I don’t think that we want private companies censoring politicians and the news.”
But Facebook has already banned at least two conservative politicians from its platform in the past year.
“I generally believe as a principle that people should decide what is credible and what they want to believe and who they want to vote for,” continued Zuckerberg.
At the same time, the Facebook CEO said there are “specific things … about the internet that we need to address.”
“Some people choose to use their voice to organize violence… people can spread misinformation faster than they were able to before, people can form new types of communities that have the potential to lead to polarization, you can livestream events now, which helps us be present with each other and capture moments we [couldn’t] before, but it also helps people stream things like terrible acts of violence.”
For each of these things the internet platforms and Facebook especially, we have a responsibility to make sure that we address these harms and make sure that we can address these risks,” said Zuckerberg.
Responding to a question about billionaires, and Bernie Sanders’ argument that they shouldn’t exist, Zuckerberg, himself a billionaire, agreed that “in some cosmic sense … nobody deserves to have billions of dollars.”
The Facebook CEO also addressed concerns about privacy, calling it the company’s “top priority” and “the most critical thing that we’re working on,” citing an agreement with the FTC to build a “much more rigorous privacy program” at Facebook.
The balance I’m trying to get right is working through some of these big social issues around speech and content and privacy and data portability,” said Zuckerberg.
“I want to make sure that we continue to defend people’s ability to have a voice and stand up for free expression.”
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.