II An aspect of the Conservative’s problem with Facebook that was not addressed. (see below)
By Jerome S. Kaufman
I Facebook Political Conclave Called Productive
Redacted from an article By DEEPA SEETHARAMAN
Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2016
Sixteen prominent conservatives met with Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday to air concerns about allegations of political bias at the world’s largest social network, in a session several attendees said was a productive start to a dialogue that should continue.
The political and media leaders met with Mr. Zuckerberg, who wore his typical T-shirt, and other Facebook executives for 90 minutes in a conference room on Facebook’s sprawling campus in Menlo Park, Calif. After the late-afternoon meeting, some attendees took a tour of Facebook’s campus and viewed a demonstration of its virtual-reality technology.
Brent Bozell, president of conservative media watchdog the Media Research Center, described it as a “good, first meeting.” He added: “Nothing was going to be conclusively resolved today, but we were assured that Facebook is taking these concerns very seriously.”
“No one is kidding themselves—everyone knows how left-wing Silicon Valley is. It is a world view that is completely contrary to the conservative world view,” Mr. Bozell said. “That said, it doesn’t mean that one can’t find any way to make this work.”
Mr. Bozell and others declined to be more specific about the discussion, saying participants had agreed not to disclose details.
Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged that many view the social network with suspicion.
“I know many conservatives don’t trust that our platform surfaces content without a political bias,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. “I wanted to hear their concerns personally and have an open conversation about how we can build trust. I want to do everything I can to make sure our teams uphold the integrity of our products.”
Mr. Zuckerberg was joined by Facebook’s most prominent conservative executive, Joel Kaplan, a former aide to President George W. Bush who is now Facebook’s head of global public policy.
The meeting thrust Mr. Zuckerberg into the company’s latest attempt at damage control after a report last week that curators of Facebook’s “trending topics” feature suppressed news about conservative events and from conservative sources. Facebook denied bias, but revealed that curators had more oversight over what appears in this feed than it previously disclosed.
In addition to the meeting with Mr. Zuckerberg, the conservative leaders met with Facebook employees who described the “trending topics” feature, which was introduced in January 2014, and explained the role of news curators. Mr. Brooks said Facebook told participants it would adjust the feature’s algorithm to help address the question of bias.
But Facebook employees have contributed roughly three times as much to Democratic candidates as to Republicans during the current election cycle, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of center data. The Journal looked only at contributions of $500 or more.
At stake is Facebook’s reputation as a forum for freewheeling exchange of ideas for its more than 1.6 billion users.
It risks losing credibility among conservatives, who make up about half its users in the U.S., and are active advertisers in this busy election year. Political advertising is expected to reach $11.4 billion this year, with digital ad spending topping $1 billion, according to Borrell Associates. In 2012, digital ad spending was less than $200 million.
Mr. Kaplan is a key part of Facebook’s overture to conservatives, especially given Mr. Zuckerberg’s record of promoting liberal causes. Under Mr. Kaplan, Facebook has tried to build inroads with Republican candidates and added more conservatives to Facebook’s staff, including Kevin Martin, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
II An aspect of the Conservative’s Problem that was not addressed.
By Jerome S. Kaufman
Editor: Israel Commentary
Unfortunately, evidently, from the report above, one associated subject was not addressed. I am sure some of you have sites on Facebook on which you post articles favorable to conservative views. And, many times, if you are like me, your site has been blocked from all posting for any number of days, depending upon the whims of Facebook.
Each time this occurs I have asked Facebook to please tell me exactly what I am doing wrong that makes it block my publication and I have never received a direct explanation. In addition I advise Facebook that whatever it is that offends them, I would be happy to stop, especially since they are the ones in the driver’s seat.
Having had absolutely no direct response, I have come to the conclusion that the most likely thing causing the blocking is the conservative-favorable content of the postings. But, I really have no way of knowing whether this is true or not.
In any case, If you have had similar experiences, please send a short note to Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center, who seems to have a leading role in the discussions with Mr. Zuckerberg. Perhaps Mr Brozell will find your notes of use to him in his future meetings with Mr Zuckerberg. They might even result in a lessening of the harassment many of us are now experiencing.
Mr. Brent Bozell can be contacted at:
Media Research Center
1900 Campus Commons Drive
Reston, VA 20191
Main tel: 571-267-3500
Jerome S. Kaufman
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