Trump, Mark Zuckerberg hold surprise White House meeting

Trump has previously accused Facebook of having a bias against conservatives and even threatened to sue the tech giant.
Image: Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg meets with lawmakers to discuss "future internet regulation\
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg walks past members of the news media as he walks to the office of U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-MO, while meeting with lawmakers to discuss "future internet regulation" on Capitol Hill on Sept. 19, 2019.Al Drago / Reuters

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By Dareh Gregorian and Frank Thorp V

President Donald Trump and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a previously unannounced meeting at the White House on Thursday, a Facebook spokesperson said.

"Mark is in Washington, D.C., meeting with policymakers to hear their concerns and talk about future internet regulation. He also had a good, constructive meeting with President Trump at the White House today," said the spokesperson, Andy Stone.

Trump tweeted a photo from the meting, which he called "nice."

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The company did not say how long the meeting was, who else attended or what the topics were.

Trump lashed out at Facebook in June, suggesting the government should sue the social media giant as well as Google.

"Look, we should be suing Google and Facebook and all that, which perhaps we will, OK?" Trump told Fox Business Network then. He said the Big Tech companies are "all Democrats" and "totally biased towards Democrats."

Earlier in the day Wednesday, Zuckerberg met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

Hawley said he told Zuckerberg that Facebook should sell WhatsApp and Instagram if the company is serious about data privacy and market concentration. Hawley said he pressed Zuckerberg about "political bias," a frequent complaint in conservative online circles.

"We also talked about the censorship issue and I just want to underscore one of the reasons that the censorship and political bias issue is so pressing is because Facebook is so big. It's because they are monopoly size," the Missouri senator told reporters.

Despite Trump's past criticism of Facebook, his presidential campaign has continued paying big bucks to advertise on the website, including over $3.6 million between December 30 of last year and March 23.

He also spent heavily on Facebook in the run-up to the 2016 election, buying more than 5.9 million ads, Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale told PBS.

Kyle Stewart contributed.