- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made time for a private dinner with President Donald Trump while in Washington for a congressional hearing in October.
- The dinner included the Facebook board member Peter Thiel — the investor and entrepreneur who cofounded PayPal and Palantir and who supports Trump.
- At least one prominent politician has called out the dinner, which was unreported by Facebook and the White House until NBC News published a piece in late November. “This is corruption, plain and simple,” Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said.
- What Trump and Zuckerberg discussed at the dinner remains unknown. In a new interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning,” Zuckerberg said, “We talked about a number of things that were on his mind and some of the topics that you read about in the news around our work.” He denied that Trump lobbied him.
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In October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in Washington, DC, for a grilling by lawmakers.
While he was in town, Zuckerberg met with President Donald Trump for a private dinner that also included the Facebook board member Peter Thiel. Until late November, the dinner of two of the world’s most powerful people went unreported. Facebook confirmed the dinner to NBC News last month.
The details of the dinner remain elusive, but some new information has come out, care of an interview with Zuckerberg on “CBS This Morning” on Monday.
“We talked about a number of things that were on his mind, and some of the topics that you read about in the news around our work,” Zuckerberg told the cohost Gayle King.
Though Zuckerberg didn’t offer further details, he denied that Trump attempted to lobby him on the subject of political ads on Facebook.
“No. I think some of the stuff people talk about or think gets discussed in these discussions are not really how that works,” he said. “I also want to respect that it was a private dinner with private discussion.”
Facebook has faced wide criticism for its stance on political advertising — the social-media giant doesn’t fact-check politicians in political ads or remove false information from them. Competing social platforms like Twitter and YouTube have taken different stances; Twitter outright banned political advertising, and YouTube has removed hundreds of political ads from its platform.
At least one prominent politician has called out the dinner, which was unreported by Facebook and the White House until NBC News reported on it. “This is corruption, plain and simple,” Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said.
In the interview, Zuckerberg echoed previous statements he’d made about the choice.
“What I believe is that in a democracy it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying so they can make their own judgments,” he said. “I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.”
Watch the full interview with Zuckerberg right here: