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Cruz presses Zuckerberg on alleged censorship of conservative speech

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Cruz puts hold on Biden's CIA nominee It will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants MORE (R-Texas) grilled Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergNY Times columnist David Brooks says think-tank role 'hasn't affected' his journalism New York Times expands its live news staff Hillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships MORE on Tuesday over what the Republican senator described as broad concerns that the company has censored conservative accounts and content.

Zuckerberg defended Facebook as a “platform for all ideas.” At the same time, he acknowledged that Facebook’s presence in liberal Silicon Valley could cause such concerns to arise.

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“There are a great many Americans who I would say are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,” Cruz said.

Cruz cited a 2016 Gizmodo report alleging that Facebook suppressed conservative news outlets, as well as the recent revelation that Facebook barred Trump supporters Diamond and Silk from the platform after deeming their content “unsafe to the community.”

He also said Facebook had initially shut down a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day page, and blocked a post from a Fox News reporter as well as "over two dozen" Catholic pages.

“To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias,” Cruz said.

Zuckerberg called the concerns “fair” and said he has worked to “root out” any political bias in the company’s work.

“I understand where that concern is coming from, because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place,” Zuckerberg said. 

“This is actually a concern that I have, and that I try to root out at the company — is making sure that we don’t have any bias in the work that we do,” he added. “I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about.”

Cruz pressed the Facebook CEO on whether he is aware of the company removing posts related to Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org or Democratic candidates. He answered he is not “specifically aware” of any instances. 

Zuckerberg also declined to address the ouster of Palmer Luckey, a Facebook employee who left the company after he was revealed as a supporter of a conservative group that produced anti-Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction Jill Biden redefines role of first lady MORE memes. 

“I am very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform to all ideas,” Zuckerberg told Cruz. 

Zuckerberg appeared before lawmakers on the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees to address the ensuing controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that harvested data on millions of Facebook users without their permission.