01 Jun 2018 Facebook Continues Fake News Barrage – Claims No Bias Against Conservatives
Free Enterprise Project Urges Mark Zuckerberg to Promote Viewpoint Diversity as Social Media Giant Announces Agreement with the SEIU Over Race and Gender Preferences for Board Selection
Menlo Park, CA / Washington, D.C. – Facebook announced an agreement with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to institute a board selection process focusing on race and gender minorities at its annual meeting of shareholders. But, in response to a question from the Free Enterprise Project (FEP), CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed unwilling to embrace viewpoint diversity to make the company more politically neutral and address criticism that the social media giant censors conservative content.
At yesterday’s Facebook shareholder meeting in Menlo Park, California, FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq. challenged Zuckerberg to “avoid groupthink” that stifles the free exchange of ideas in Silicon Valley by “hiring a few conservatives” and addressing the liberal bias Zuckerberg admits dominates the high-tech industry. In his response, however, Zuckerberg provided no assurances the company would take any action on Danhof’s advice.
“When Mark Zuckerberg says they have political bias under control at Facebook – that’s fake news,” said Danhof. “At the investor meetings of companies such as Alphabet, Apple and Amazon, anti-conservative sentiment is obvious. When I challenged this bias at Alphabet last year, where an employee was later fired for challenging gender-based hiring goals, then-CEO Eric Schmidt told me ‘you will also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.’ I left today’s Facebook meeting with no assurance that Mark Zuckerberg has any real intention of creating a workplace that can shake the stigma that it is consciously censoring conservative content.”
In his statement to Zuckerberg and other members of the Facebook leadership team, Danhof said:
In 2016, former employees told Gizmodo how the company was diminishing conservative voices on your platform. Before Congress, it was conservatives who continued to complain about Facebook’s silencing their voices. And now, a group of more than a dozen conservative groups have formed a coalition to combat Facebook’s censorship.
Silicon Valley elites often preen about commitments to diversity and inclusion, but I don’t think many of you know what that means. Diversity isn’t what someone looks like. It’s the sum of what they think, feel and believe. Perhaps you should consider talking with employees and potential hires about their politics. When it comes to diversity in Silicon Valley, the region seems to suffer from a lack of viewpoint diversity. Hiring a few conservatives may balance out the office and avoid groupthink.
He then asked:
Will you commit to increasing viewpoint diversity amongst the ranks at Facebook, and what tangible steps can you commit to in order to achieve that goal?
Danhof’s exchange with Zuckerberg can be heard at this link.
“Zuckerberg paid lip service to the concept of ideological diversity, but his own liberal worldview may be preventing him from seeing the full picture. Facebook has exactly one conservative board member, and he has considered leaving the board because of the company’s far-left leanings. That should be evidence enough that the company has a groupthink problem,” said Danhof.
“And while the company made no commitment to increasing ideological diversity on its board or elsewhere amongst its workforce, it proudly announced that it came to an agreement with the extremists at the SEIU to adopt a primarily racial and gender paradigm for its board selection process,” Danhof added. “What the SEIU wants is both racist and sexist – and it’s not in the best interest of the company’s shareholders.”
At Wednesday’s annual meeting of Amazon investors, Danhof spoke out against that company’s decision to also agree to the SEIU’s board selection process.
FEP representatives have participated in 23 shareholder meetings in 2018.
Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.
FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).
Danhof’s latest commentary, on the recent Walt Disney shareholder meeting where his actions resulted in Joy Behar’s public apology for suggesting Christianity is a mental illness, is available here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.