Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Says He Has No Secret Pact With Trump Administration

Facebook Inc FB Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who is facing a growing backlash over his stance on moderating hate content on the social media platform, in an interview with Axios Monday denied he had any secret pact with President Donald Trump.

What Happened

“One specific critique that I've seen is that there are a lot of people who've said that maybe we're too sympathetic or too close in some way to the Trump administration,” Zuckerberg said, admitting he talked to Trump from “time to time,” just like he spoke to his predecessor and other world leaders.

“The fact that I met with a head of state should not be surprising, and does not suggest we have some kind of deal,” the Facebook CEO added.

The billionaire entrepreneur told Axios he “believes deeply" in giving people a voice, even if he is in disagreement with their views.

"I believe in a broad definition of free expression, especially around political speech — but those are my principles and I don't think that's a surprise to anyone,” he noted.

Why It Matters

Civil rights organizations are demanding that Facebook improves the policing of hate speech on its platforms and have called for an ad boycott under the aegis of the “Stop Hate For Profit” campaign.

Walt Disney Company DIS, which spent $210 million in advertising on Facebook and subsidiary Instagram's platforms in the first half of 2020 alone, has reportedly joined the boycott, along with other major brands, such as Starbucks Corporation SBUX, Verizon Communication Inc VZ, and Unilever Plc UN.

The advertising boycott is likely to extend beyond July as talks between civil rights groups and Facebook remain stalled.

Price Action 

Facebook shares closed 1.4% higher at $245.42 on Monday and traded mostly flat in the after-hours session.

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