Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) criticized a recently-revealed secret meeting between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, PayPal founder and Trump donor Peter Thiel, and President Donald Trump as evidence of "corruption, plain and simple." (Photos: Pete Marovich/Getty Images; Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)

Warren Raises 'Corruption' Alarm After Trump, Zuckerberg, and Thiel Hold Secret White House Meeting

"This is how the government keeps working for giant corporations and the wealthy and well-connected."

Julia Conley

Sen. Elizabeth Warren issued warnings of corruption Thursday morning after it was reported that Facebook founder and CEO, along with company board member and right-wing billionaire Peter Thiel, enjoyed a recent secret White House meeting with President Donald Trump.

NBC News broke the story late Wednesday, reporting that Facebook confirmed the meeting took place in October while Zuckerberg was in Washington, D.C. to testify before Congress. Facebook board member Peter Thiel, a major Trump donor and the recipient of numerous government contracts for his company's data-mining work under the Trump administration, also attended the dinner.

Warren seized on the news, accusing Zuckerberg of "going on a charm offensive with Republican lawmakers" as law enforcement agencies investigate whether Facebook has violated antitrust laws.

"This is corruption, plain and simple," Warren tweeted. 

The senator pointed to the dinner as an example of the kind of corporate activities with the federal government she wouldn't allow as president should she win the 2020 presidential election.

"I won't cozy up to Facebook when I'm president," Warren tweeted. "It's time to root out corruption in Washington. Until we do, we won't be able to make any progress on any of the issues that matter to us."

 

A Facebook spokesperson told NBC that the dinner was a "normal" occurrence for the CEO of a major company, but Buzzfeed technology reporter Alex Kantrowitz tweeted that the secretive presidential dinner with two Silicon Valley billionaires who largely control a media platform used by about 70 percent of Americans should raise doubts about Facebook's claims of commitment to "political transparency." 

"It's normal for CEOs and heads of state to meet, yes," Kantroqitz wrote. "But given Facebook's political power, this one should've been easy: Just disclose it."

The meeting between Zuckerberg, Thiel, and Trump took place when the Facebook CEO was in Washington to testify about a number of issues related to the company, including its decision to allow political ads to be posted on its platform without imposing rigorous fact-checking standards.

The dinner "took place right as Zuck defended Facebook's decision to let politicians buy the right to lie on its platform," tweeted journalist Caroline Orr.

Entrepreneur Elizabeth McLaughlin noted that amid the attention Zuckerberg's talks with Trump have gotten, the potential significance of Thiel's involvement shouldn't be disregarded. Thiel is a co-founder of Palantir, which provided profiling tools to the government last year as ICE was ramping up raids in immigrant communities and deportations.

"Palantir is engaged in tracking of people and populations the Trump administration despises and when you put Palantir and Facebook together, you've got a data operation the Nazis would have adored," McLaughlin tweeted.

The meeting took place as Facebook is facing scrutiny over its partnerships with far-right news outlets including Breitbart News and The Daily Caller, prompting Mashable technology reporter Matt Binder to call Facebook "the right wing's social network" in an article he re-posted in response to NBC's report.

"It's impossible to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt over its recent choices," Binder wrote. "Zuckerberg appears to have made calculated decisions and, with that, the transformation of Facebook is complete. The right wing has its own social network now."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Biden-Backed Aukus Deal Could Spell 'Disaster' for Climate Cooperation With China

One U.K. lawmaker said reaching a "positive outcome" at the upcoming talks in Glasgow "just got a whole lot harder."

Jon Queally ·



Exclusive: Jared Kushner's Family Firm Set to Unleash Eviction Wave Amid Pandemic

"Kushner is the poster child for ultra-rich landlords clamoring to boost their bottom line by kicking families to the curb, even if it comes at the expense of public health."

Jake Johnson ·


Patient Group Targets Pair of Democrats for 'Selling Us Out to Drug Companies'

"It makes me so angry that members of Congress are choosing Big Pharma over patients. It's unforgivable."

Jake Johnson ·


Judge Blocks Biden From Continuing 'Inhumane' Trump Policy to Deport Families

"This is not the end of the battle against this practice," said one rights group, "but it is a major step to ensure that the U.S. welcomes these asylum-seeking families—as we should."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo