Zuckerberg rejects Trump's bias claims

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the social network is working to ensure "free and fair elections" with an online platform that does not favour one side over another.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the social network is working to ensure "free and fair elections" with an online platform that does not favour one side over another.PHOTO: REUTERS

He defends social network's stance of not taking sides, after critical tweet from Trump

SAN FRANCISCO • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has fired back at US President Donald Trump for accusing the leading social network of being "always anti-Trump".

Mr Zuckerberg on Wednesday rejected the notion, countering that Facebook is working to ensure "free and fair elections" with an online platform that does not favour one side over another.

His post came after Mr Trump tweeted: "Facebook was always anti-Trump. The Networks were always anti-Trump hence, Fake News, @nytimes (apologised) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?"

Mr Zuckerberg, in his post, said: "Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump... Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don't like. That's what running a platform for all ideas looks like."

Facebook last week said Russia-linked ads on the social network aimed at inflaming tensions around last year's presidential election in the United States will be given to Congress. The ads sought to sow discord among Americans on hot-button social issues.

News of the decision came with word that Facebook is cracking down on efforts to use the platform to meddle with elections in the US or elsewhere.

Mr Zuckerberg held firm that Facebook's biggest role in the election was as a platform for candidates and citizens to communicated directly with one another regarding issues.

ALWAYS BIASED

Facebook was always anti-Trump.The Networks were always anti-Trump hence, Fake News, @nytimes (apologised) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, in a tweet.

OPEN TO ALL IDEAS

Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don't like. That's what running a platform for all ideas looks like.

MR MARK ZUCKERBERG, in response to Mr Trump's tweet.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked top tech companies Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify about Russian interference in US politics, a Senate aide confirmed on Wednesday.

The three social media giants are expected to appear on Nov 1 at an open hearing on the rising evidence that they were covertly manipulated in a campaign to help Mr Trump win the presidency.

Representatives for Facebook and Google confirmed they had received invitations from the Senate committee. Twitter did not respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Mr Paul Horner, who trolled the US with his fabricated news stories and claimed he was responsible for Mr Trump's election victory, died last week.

The cause was a suspected drug overdose, the Arizona authorities said on Wednesday. The 38-year-old's family said he had been known to abuse prescription drugs and there were no signs of foul play.

Mr Horner's fraudulent articles could be found on Facebook, various news domains that he created, and in years past, on the fake news website National Report.

"My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time," he told Washington Post last year. "I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don't fact-check anything - they'll post everything, believe anything."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Zuckerberg rejects Trump's bias claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe