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Conservative commentators to attend Zuckerberg meeting

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will meet with conservative commentators this week to try to calm anxieties over whether the company downplayed right-leaning content on its platform.

{mosads}The Facebook founder will meet radio host Glenn Beck, former White House press secretary Dana Perino, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, CNN pundit S.E. Cupp and Zac Moffatt, co-founder of the conservative digital firm Targeted Victory, according to a spokesperson for the social media giant.

The meeting is set for Wednesday at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.

Beck said he is planning to go to the meeting because it “would be interesting to look [Zuckerberg] in the eye as he explains and a win for all voices if we can come to a place of real trust with this powerful tool.”

Zuckerberg pledged last Thursday to hold the meeting while responding to allegations that the editors behind Facebook’s trending topics section had omitted topics and news sources popular with conservatives from the list.

Facebook has been under pressure since last week, when Gizmodo published a report quoting a former “curator” for Facebook’s trending topics section saying that their colleagues had suppressed conservative news stories and sources. Editors for the trending section process a list of topics generated by an algorithm.

Executives at the company — including Zuckerberg — have said that their review so far has turned up “no evidence” that the charges are true.

The company has repeatedly made its case in statements over the last week. It also released internal documents describing how the trending feature is run. But the allegations have nonetheless set off a very public response from the company, which has made its platform’s political neutrality a core part of its identity.

“The reason I care so much about this is that it gets to the core of everything Facebook is and everything I want it to be,” Zuckerberg said last week.

Over the weekend, Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy for the company and a former George W. Bush administration aide, offered his own defense of the platform.

“I love the fact that conservative voices are so strong on Facebook — and that we are the place where the political debate takes place,” he said. “But ultimately my own political perspective isn’t what matters. What’s important is that we are truly open to everyone — and that they know it.”

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