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Backlash toward Facebook: #DeleteFacebook trends after report Zuckerberg secretly dined with conservatives

Mountain View, California — The hashtag #DeleteFacebook picked up steam Monday, CBS San Francisco says. It was trending on Twitter after Politico reported Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held secret dinner meetings at his home over the summer with conservative figures including talk show hosts and journalists. The hashtag attracted some 54,000 tweets as of Monday night, CBS San Francisco says. Zuckerberg took to Facebook Monday to address the report. He said in part, “To be clear, I have dinners with lots of people across the spectrum. … Meeting new people and hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do!” Russ Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, said it would take time to figure out if the hashtag had any impact on Facebook. “We have to wait to see if his user base seriously, seriously diminished,” Hancock said. “Don’t forget that the population of Facebook users would be the largest country in the world.” Katherine Clark, who’s had a Facebook account for 15 years, said her friends have deleted their accounts over time. “They think their privacy is really at stake or is lost on Facebook, (that) it’s not being protected,” she said. Clark, who’s conservative, said she doesn’t see anything wrong with Zuckerberg’s series of quiet dinners. “I think that it would be leveling the playing field if he reaches out to conservatives because he surely reached out to liberals,” she said. Politico reported the dinners focused on free expression, unfair treatment of conservatives and privacy. “You could say that the company is doing all of the things that they’re supposed to do, they’re increasing safeguards, they’re giving assurances about privacy,” said Hancock. Over the weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren ran a Facebook ad that contained false statements to protest Facebook allowing false statements from other politicians. Facebook hasn’t returned CBS San Francisoco’s request for a comment.

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