Donald Trump met Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in the White House on Thursday, in an apparent effort to address lawmakers’ concerns over everything from the company’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency, to data privacy and allegations of political bias.
The meeting — one of several held by the social media network’s founder in his first visit to Capitol Hill since he faced Congress in tense hearings about the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year — was “constructive”, according to a Facebook spokesperson.
It came at the end of a hectic day of meetings with senior politicians on Capitol Hill, where Mr Zuckerberg was asked by at least one senator — the Republican Josh Hawley — if he would consider selling WhatsApp and Instagram to meet the concerns of some who believe the company has grown too large and powerful. Mr Zuckerberg reportedly resisted the request.
Mr Zuckerberg was also keen to face down accusations directed at Facebook — including from Mr Trump himself — of anti-conservative bias and censorship, after the company banned several far-right figures from the platform as part of a crackdown on hate speech.
Facebook is also grappling with a growing number of antitrust investigations from US government and state agencies, as well as ongoing probes into its privacy practices.
“Mark is in Washington DC meeting with policymakers to hear their concerns and talk about future internet regulation,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “He also had a good, constructive meeting with President Trump at the White House today.”
The meeting was first reported by Axios.