Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s relationship with Washington Democrats has reportedly become strained in recent times.
AP News reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has found his relationship with Democrats in Washinton strained over the past few years, and with bipartisan hostility towards Facebook growing as the 2020 presidential elections approach, the company could be facing heavy regulation.
One key point of contention has been Facebook’s decision not to fact-check ads on its platform posted by politicians. Democrats have had a particularly big issue with this, calling on Zuckerberg to heavily censor the Facebook platform to prevent the spread of misinformation.
John Feehery, a veteran Republican communications strategist, commented on the change in attitude to Facebook stating: “When you’re the No. 1 monopoly, people are going to come after you,” he added that the challenge that the Democrats are facing is: “They’re facing a base that is very angry and restive. So they have to be much more aggressive in taking on corporations.”
Previously, Zuckerberg had a close relationship with the Obama administration but now the Facebook CEO is being forced to learn how to deal with Washington politicians that are less friendly towards him than their predecessors. Zuckerberg’s new strategy is to conduct multiple personal private meetings in Washington with key lawmakers from both parties, as well as President Trump himself.
James Thurber, a professor of government at American University who founded its Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, commented on Zuckerberg’s situation stating that his for the Facebook CEO and the Democrats “it may be a nasty divorce.” He added that when it comes to Zuckerberg’s decision not to remove political advertisements from his platform: “He clearly has taken a stand that’s really quite unpopular.”
Thurber also stated that Zuckerberg’s decision to conduct personal private meetings with politicians is “very dangerous,” adding: ″You’ve got to be very careful about that, if you think you can do it yourself.” The sudden change in the relationship between Facebook and the Democrats will come as quite a shock given the closeness of their previous relationship.
During an employee town hall event at Facebook’s Silicon Valley HQ in Aprill 2011, President Barack Obama said: “My name is Barack Obama and I’m the guy that got Mark to wear a jacket and tie.” As Obama and Zuckerberg removed their jackets and ties and rolled up their sleeves in unison, Obama stated: “Being here at Facebook is so exciting for me. You guys are at the cutting edge of what’s happening.”
Read more at AP News here.