Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pushed back after Axios editor-in-chief Mike Allen claimed that conservatives have taken over the platform and turned it into a “right-wing echo chamber.”
“Every indication is that the Facebook platform is helping President Trump win again,” Allen said to Zuckerberg in an interview published Wednesday. “Certainly, his team will tell you that. it’s not about intent. It’s about how they use the product,” asking the Facebook CEO “What do you make of the way that President Trump and the Republicans have mastered Facebook?”
Zuckerberg responded that he didn’t see this as being partisan, but rather that the Republicans are using Facebook more effectively.
“I actually think, across the spectrum, this is not a Republican thing or a Democratic thing, Zuckerberg said. “I think that some people are more sophisticated and just authentic or natural on the internet and social media than others. But overall, I do think that social media allows everyone to have a voice, including people who traditionally might have not been able to get their message out through a lot of the traditional media. That’s not necessarily a partisan point.”
Allen admitted that former President Barack Obama used Facebook very effectively during his two elections, but under President Trump, it’s become a “right-wing echo chamber.”
“You’re right that it’s not partisan,” Allen said. “President Obama very effectively leveraged Facebook for two elections. But now that’s flipped. And now Facebook, the reality is, is a real right-wing echo chamber. If you look at some of the loudest voices on Facebook, it’s Breitbart, it’s Sarah Palin, it’s Franklin Graham, and that part of the spectrum has figured out Facebook in this moment. Your liberal friends must hate it.”
Zuckerberg responded: “Well, look. I think your characterization, frankly, is just wrong. I don’t think that the service is a right-wing echo chamber, to use your words. I think that you know, everyone can use their voice, and can find media that they trust that reflects the opinions and the life experiences that they were having. Some people had found, before, that their experiences weren’t being covered by traditional media, and now are able to find voices and follow them that resonate more with their life experience. It’s not clear to me that’s a bad thing.”