Zuckerberg tells GOP lawmakers Facebook isn't biased against conservatives

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the suggestion by several Republican lawmakers on Wednesday that the social media network is biased against conservative content — but admitted he is worried about the issue of censorship on the platform in general.

“This is one of the areas that frankly I’m worried we’re not doing a good job at right now,” Zuckerberg said in his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committees. “The principle that we’re a platform for all ideas is something I care very deeply about. I am worried about bias … and I agree that this is a serious issue.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash., cited the recent example of Facebook rejecting a Catholic university’s ad showing Jesus on the cross, which outraged some religious conservatives. The company apologized and subsequently accepted the image.

“That it happened at all is deeply disturbing,” she told Zuckerberg. “Could you tell what was so shocking, sensational or excessively violent about the ad to cause it to be initially censored?”

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., waits to begin a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Lawmakers will grill Zuckerberg on issues ranging from the troves of data vacuumed up by app developers and political consultant Cambridge Analytica to Russian operatives' use of the social network to spread misinformation and discord during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
The witness table is seen before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearance at a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg listens while testifying before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes a drink while testifying before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Brandon/Pool
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes a drink while testifying before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Brandon/Pool
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits down following a break to resume testifying before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits down following a break to resume testifying before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) listens as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) listens as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) (L) looks on as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) holds up the privacy agreement of Facebook as its CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responds to a question about his own personal information becoming public as he testifies before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is surrounded by members of the media as he arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company?s use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (2 L) arrives at a meeting with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, April 9, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before a few Congressional committees this week on the mass users data Facebook has shared with political operatives. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 9: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for his meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Monday, April 9, 2018. Zuckerberg is on Capitol Hill to testify before the House and Senate this week. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Mark Zuckerberg and Andrea Besmehn, Mark Zuckerbergs executive assistant at Facebook depart US Senator Bill Nelson's, D-Florida, office on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 9, 2018. Embattled Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has placed the blame for security lapses at the world's largest social network squarely on himself as he girded Monday for appearances this week before angry lawmakers.In prepared remarks released by a congressional panel, Zuckerberg admitted he was too idealistic and failed to grasp how the platform -- used by two billion people -- could be abused and manipulated. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by JIM WATSON has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [Andrea Besmehn (R), Mark Zuckerbergs executive assistant at Facebook] instead of [Priscilla Chan]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (C) leaves after a meeting with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, April 9, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before a few Congressional committees this week on the mass users data Facebook has shared with political operatives. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (3rd L) leaves after a meeting with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, April 9, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before a few Congressional committees this week on the mass users data Facebook has shared with political operatives. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., exits after a meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, not pictured, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, April 9, 2018. Zuckerberg, in prepared testimony for the U.S. House of Representatives, said all of Facebook's problems are his mistake. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (C) leaves the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) after meeting with Feinstein on Capitol Hill on April 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg is meeting with individual senators in advance of tomorrow's scheduled hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committeees. Zuckerberg is under pressure to explain why tens of millions of Facebook user's private information was shared with Cambridge Analytica. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (C) leaves the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) after meeting with Feinstein on Capitol Hill on April 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg is meeting with individual senators in advance of tomorrow's scheduled hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committeees. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 09: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (3rd L) leaves after a meeting with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, April 9, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before a few Congressional committees this week on the mass users data Facebook has shared with political operatives. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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“It sounds like we made a mistake there, and I apologize for that.” Zuckerberg replied. “With the amount of content in our systems and the current systems that we have in place to review — we make a relatively small percent of mistakes in content review, but that’s too many. And this is an area where we need to improve.”

Zuckerberg continued: “I wouldn’t extrapolate from a few examples to assuming that the overall system is biased. I get how people can look at that and draw that conclusion, but I don’t think that reflects the way we’re trying to build this system or what we have seen.”

The 33-year-old executive said that while the complaints cited by the panel were about conservative content, he hears from both sides.

“I can assure you that there are a lot of folks who think we make content moderation mistakes — and content review mistakes — of liberal content as well,” Zuckerberg said.

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee on Tuesday, Zuckerberg faced pointed questions from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, about Facebook’s perceived liberal bias.

“Does Facebook consider itself to be a neutral public forum?” Cruz asked. “It’s just a simple question … Do you consider yourself a neutral public forum? Or are you engaged in political speech, which is your right under the First Amendment?”

“Our goal is not to engage in political speech,” Zuckerberg replied.

Cruz said that “there are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.” Cruz noted that Diamond and Silk, sisters who have become famous for their pro-Trump videos, recently said that their Facebook page was blocked after the site determined it to be “unsafe to the community.”

RELATED: Protestors display cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside U.S. Capitol

19 PHOTOS
Protestors display cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside U.S. Capitol
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Protestors display cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside U.S. Capitol
Avaaz.org Campaign Director Nell Greenberg, (L), walks among dozens of cardboard cut-outs of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg while holding a protest outside of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Dozens of cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are seen during an Avaaz.org protest outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Dozens of cardboard cut-outs of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sit outside of the U.S. Capitol Building as part of an Avaaz.org protest in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Dozens of cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are seen during an Avaaz.org protest outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are displayed on the South East lawn of the Capitol building ahead of testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Lawmakers will grill Zuckerberg on issues ranging from the troves of data vacuumed up by app developers and political consultant Cambridge Analytica to Russian operatives' use of the social network to spread misinformation and discord during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are displayed on the South East lawn of the Capitol building ahead of testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Lawmakers will grill Zuckerberg on issues ranging from the troves of data vacuumed up by app developers and political consultant Cambridge Analytica to Russian operatives' use of the social network to spread misinformation and discord during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Dozens of cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are seen during an Avaaz.org protest outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
UNITED STATES - APRIL 10: Cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appear on the east lawn of the Capitol ahead of his testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on the protection of user data on April 10, 2018. Avaaz set up the display to call on Facebook to delete fake accounts. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Dozens of cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are seen during an Avaaz.org protest outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: 100 life-sized cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sit on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. The advocacy group Avaaz placed the cutouts on the lawn to bring attention to the alleged hundreds of millions of fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook ahead of Zuckerberg's hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Senate Judiciary Comittees. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Dozens of cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are seen during an Avaaz.org protest outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Chelsea Hornick-Becker of Avaaz.org holds a protest sign in front of dozens of cardboard cut-outs of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Dozens of cardboard cut-outs of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sit outside of the U.S. Capitol Building as part of an Avaaz.org protest in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: 100 life-sized cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sit on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. The advocacy group Avaaz placed the cutouts on the lawn to bring attention to the alleged hundreds of millions of fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook ahead of Zuckerberg's hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Senate Judiciary Comittees. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
One hundred cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. Advocacy group Avaaz is calling attention to what the groups says are hundreds of millions of fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are displayed on the South East lawn of the Capitol building ahead of testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Lawmakers will grill Zuckerberg on issues ranging from the troves of data vacuumed up by app developers and political consultant Cambridge Analytica to Russian operatives' use of the social network to spread misinformation and discord during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: 100 life-sized cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sit on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. The advocacy group Avaaz placed the cutouts on the lawn to bring attention to the alleged hundreds of millions of fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook ahead of Zuckerberg's hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Senate Judiciary Comittees. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 10: Chelsea Hornick-Becker sets up a display of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cutouts on the east lawn of the Capitol ahead of his testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on the protection of user data on April 10, 2018. Avaaz set up the display to call on Facebook to delete fake accounts. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
One hundred cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. Advocacy group Avaaz is calling attention to what the groups says are hundreds of millions of fake accounts still spreading disinformation on Facebook. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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On Wednesday, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told Zuckerberg that he has received several questions from constituents about the duo on his own Facebook page.

“Please ask Mr. Zuckerberg why is Facebook biased against conservative bloggers such as Diamond and Silk? Facebook called them ‘unsafe’ to the community,” Barton said, reading one message from his phone aloud. “That is ludicrous. They hold conservative views. That isn’t unsafe.”

“In that specific case, our team made an enforcement error,” Zuckerberg replied. “And we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.”

Zuckerberg’s appearances before the congressional panels come in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exposed personal information from as many as 87 million users. Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm used by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, was able to access user data on Facebook through a third-party quiz app.

Rep. Billy Long, R-La., said his constituents are not concerned about the data breach — but are worried about censorship.

“I represent 751,000 people,” Long said. “I’m not getting the outcry from my constituents about what’s going on with Cambridge Analytica.”

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