Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, under fire from the political right for the past several years over concerns that his platform is intentionally censoring the political right, will reportedly deliver a “free speech manifesto” Thursday.
“I’ve been writing a speech about my views on voice and free expression that I’m giving tomorrow,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s the most comprehensive take I’ve written about my views, why I believe voice is important, how giving people voice and bringing people together go hand in hand, how me might address the challenges that more voice and the internet introduce, and the major threats to free expression around the world.”
The speech will be streamed at 1 p.m. ET.
“I’ve tried to distill a lot of what I’ve learned over the past few years of focusing intensely on these issues. I spent a lot of time working on this, and it’s an unfiltered take on how I think about these questions,” Zuckerberg’s post continued.
After banning a plethora of high-profile supporters of President Donald J. Trump, including our own Laura Loomer who is suing Facebook for $3 billion, Zuckerberg embarked on a secret meeting tour with conservative pundits and media personalities. This tour, which was revealed earlier this week, caused the political left to fume with fury at the CEO.
“Among those with whom Zuckerberg has met are Fox News host Tucker Carlson, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Facebook is treading on dangerous water as Attorney General Bill Barr is demanding that the Department of Justice (DOJ) launch an antitrust investigation into the tech giant. Fifty state attorneys general are already probing Facebook for anti-competitive behavior,” we reported Tuesday.
He also met with the not-so-conservative Ben Shapiro, whose news site Daily Wire has, perhaps unsurprisingly, boomed while grassroots conservative sites have been throttled by the Silicon Valley giant. Shapiro is a member of the elite political establishment whose site is funded by billionaires, and the Daily Wire is largely a mouthpiece for the controlled opposition wing of the conservative party.
Though it’s unknown what exactly Zuckerberg will address in his afternoon speech, it comes at a time of mounting pressure from the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The site has been accused of anti-competitive behavior for allegedly buying potential competitors in their infancy, thus consolidating the power of Big Tech.
It’s tough to argue against the fact that only a few companies dominate the social media landscape, and that the platforms on which Americans express political thought and hold political discourse are limited. Being banned from sites like Facebook or Twitter is the 21st century version of the gulag.
FTC Chairman Joe Simons said that he would be willing to break up the Big Tech companies if necessary.
“If you have to, you do it,” Simons reportedly said. “It’s not ideal because it’s very messy. But if you have to you have to.”
Facebook, which owns Instagram, has more than 2 billion users worldwide. Along with Twitter, Google and Google-owned YouTube, it is one of the main three platforms used to create original content and share it with the world.
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