Twitter and Facebook are scrambling to assuage conservative leaders who have sounded alarms — and sought to rile voters — with accusations that the country’s tech giants are censoring right-leaning posts, tweets and news. From secret dinners with conservative media elite to private meetings with the Republican National Committee, the new outreach reflects tech giants’ delicate task: satisfying a party in power while defending online platforms against attacks that threaten to undermine the public’s trust in the Web. The complaints have come from the upper echelons of the GOP, including top aides to President Trump, arguably the world’s most prominent Twitter user. The chief executives of Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, have both admitted in recent months that Silicon Valley’s ranks are dominated by liberals, which has only fed accusations of bias from the right.
“It’s no secret that we are largely left leaning, and we all have biases,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a note to staff on June 7. “That includes me, our board, and our company.”
To address the allegations, Dorsey has tried to break bread — quite literally — with his company’s critics.
The Twitter executive convened a rare private dinner with Republican leaders and conservative commentators in Washington last week at Cafe Milano, a familiar Georgetown haunt for city power brokers, according to four people who participated in the dinner but spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was off the record. The gathering came weeks after Dorsey provoked conservatives’ ire by tweeting a story suggesting voters should elect Democrats in November — and after he made his first official visit to Congress.