Washington D.C., - Senator Ted Cruz of
Texas grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
over claims that the world's largest social
media website has a bias against
Zuckerberg testified Tuesday afternoon
before the Senate's committees on Commerce
and Judiciary on concerns including data
privacy and Russian misinformation on
During his line of questioning, Senator
Cruz inquired about alleged political bias
at Facebook, asking if Zuckerberg considered
the social media site to be a "neutral
"Mr. Zuckerberg, I will say there are a
great many Americans who I think are deeply
concerned that that Facebook and other tech
companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern
of bias and political censorship," stated
Cruz, as quoted by a Bloomberg Government
Cruz listed several examples, including
Gizmodo reporting in 2016 that Facebook had
purposely suppressed conservative stories
from their trending news, like stories about
CPAC and the Lois Lerner IRS scandal,
Facebook initially shutting down the Chick-Fil-A
Appreciation Day page, blocking over two
dozen Catholic pages, and other incidents.
Zuckerberg responded that he understood
the concern, acknowledging that the
information technology industry of Silicon
Valley "is an extremely left-leaning place."
"This is actually a concern that I have
and that I try to root out in the company,
is making sure that we do not have any bias
in the work that we do, and I think it is a
fair concern that people would at least
wonder about," replied Zuckerberg.
Cruz continued to press the Facebook
head, asking him if he was aware of any
liberal groups or causes that experienced
censorship from the social media site, to
which Zuckerberg said that he was unaware of
"Are you aware of any ad or page that has
been taken down from Planned Parenthood?"
Cruz asked Zuckerberg.
"Senator, I'm not," Zuckerberg answered.
Cruz then asked about why Palmer Luckey,
inventor of the Oculus Rift who is known for
supporting conservative politicians and
causes including Cruz, was dismissed from
In 2016, The Daily Beast reported that
Luckey had ties to a pro-Trump group called
Nimble America. Soon after, he was gone from
"That is a specific personnel matter that
seems like it would be inappropriate to
speak to here," responded Zuckerberg, adding
"it was not because of a political view."
"We're proud of the discourse and the
different ideas that people can share on the
service, and that is something that, as long
as I'm running the company, I'm going to be
committed to making sure is the case."
In recent years, many have expressed
concern over anti-conservative censorship on
prominent Internet outlets including
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google.
For example, Facebook originally banned
paid ads for a pro-life film being made by
Alveda King, eventually reversing their
decision after claiming they had acted in
In January, Facebook took down the West
Virginia-based Warriors for Christ ministry
page, which had about 225,000 followers and
often posted socially conservative views,
accusing it of hate speech and bullying.
While promoting its academic programs on
Facebook, The Franciscan University of
Steubenville had their ads censored due to
them including a crucifix.
Facebook responded that they censored the
image of Jesus dying on a cross because it
violated their ban on "shocking,
sensational, or excessively violent
By contrast, when the woman behind the
socially conservative "Activist Mommy" page
had a group formed seeking to burn her
alive, Facebook responded to her complaint
by noting that the group "doesn't go against
one of our specific community standards."
Facebook had previously suspended the
"Activist Mommy" Facebook page for a time
after posts on what the Bible says about
Last month, the National Religious
Broadcasters' (NRB) International Christian
Media Convention held a panel of speakers
that spoke of their experiences of
censorship from these outlets.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the
Susan B. Anthony List and member of the
panel, spoke about how Facebook and Twitter
have censored many of her organization's