President Trump had dinner with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and board member Peter Thiel during Zuckerberg’s October visit to Washington, NBC reported, the second meeting between Trump and the Facebook founder in recent months.
“As is normal for a CEO of a major US company, Mark accepted an invitation to have dinner with the President and First Lady at the White House,” a Facebook spokesman told NBC in an emailed statement.
Though it’s not immediately clear what the president discussed with the Facebook founder, Zuckerberg at the time was in Washington to testify before Congress on Libra cryptocurrency. He also spoke at Georgetown University about his company’s hands-off approach to misinformation in political ads on its platform, NBC reported. The White House, which had not previously disclosed the meeting, declined to comment on the meeting.
Zuckerberg has generally kept his conversations with the president close to the vest. During the October hearing, the 35-year-old billionaire declined to detail much of what he and Trump talked about in a September meeting, though he did say broadly that antitrust issues weren’t raised then.
Facebook spent $4.8 million on Washington lobbying in the third quarter, an increase of almost 70 percent from the same period in the previous year, amid escalating scrutiny of social networking giants in general and Facebook in particular. In July, Facebook agreed to pay $5 billion to the Federal Trade Commission -- the largest privacy fine in the agency’s history -- to resolve issues related to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. It also faces antitrust probes by dozens of state attorneys general.