13/05/2016 Newsnight


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13/05/2016

With Emily Maitliss. Sir Phillip Green and the sale of BHS, the way Facebook chooses trending stories and has London become too separate from the rest of the UK?


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From high-street hero to retail tragedy -

:00:00.:00:00.

what really happened at British Home Stores?

:00:07.:00:09.

Did Sir Philip Green act responsibly when

:00:10.:00:11.

You get really egregious cases, which I suspect this is one,

:00:12.:00:19.

then it brings to light how casually the duties of directors

:00:20.:00:22.

Facebook agrees to look into charges of political bias.

:00:23.:00:32.

Did it remove right-wing stories from its trending list?

:00:33.:00:34.

And should we worry that we are increasingly getting news

:00:35.:00:36.

And on Artsnight, Tate director Nicholas Serota dares to ask -

:00:37.:00:44.

just how important is contemporary art?

:00:45.:00:46.

We stand here, on the point of opening the new Tate Modern,

:00:47.:00:49.

the extended Tate Modern, with many people still doubting that

:00:50.:00:51.

Just how did the tycoon dubbed the King of the High Street

:00:52.:01:08.

become the "unacceptable face of capitalism".

:01:09.:01:11.

Philip Green, the man behind many key fashion brands,

:01:12.:01:14.

was lauded and loved - knighted indeed.

:01:15.:01:17.

That was before he sold British Home Stores a year ago for ?1.

:01:18.:01:20.

Last month, the retail chain went into administration,

:01:21.:01:26.

and is likely to be sold again in coming days.

:01:27.:01:29.

Crucially, the move left a ?571 millon hole in its pension fund.

:01:30.:01:32.

The blame has been laid squarely at Philip Green's door.

:01:33.:01:35.

Well, Newsnight has been trying to untangle what happened

:01:36.:01:39.

with the business - and how much blame, if any,

:01:40.:01:41.

Nothing scroomed British style more than British Home Stores, it became

:01:42.:02:09.

a thriving chain of 160 odd shops nationwide.

:02:10.:02:15.

That was then, now BHS is in administration, led by a man who has

:02:16.:02:18.

been bankrupt three times, and lumbered with a hole in its pension

:02:19.:02:25.

pot that seems to be ?571 million wide. And the fall out from this

:02:26.:02:30.

could be immense. One of the BHS known retailers in this country, a

:02:31.:02:35.

Knight of the Realm has been accused of recklessly selling BHS, even

:02:36.:02:41.

though it has helped to make him a multiple billionaire, overnight a

:02:42.:02:46.

man feted as one of our greatest entrepreneurs has been regarded as a

:02:47.:02:51.

pariah. When you get egregious case, I suspect this is one, it brings to

:02:52.:02:57.

light how casually the duties of directors are being taken by some

:02:58.:03:01.

people, and I think we therefore need to remind people who work in

:03:02.:03:07.

business, who have directored duty, that they do include more than

:03:08.:03:10.

simply making money in the short run.

:03:11.:03:16.

Sir Philip Green makes an almost pant mile villain, the ?100 million

:03:17.:03:22.

superyacht, the models, the massive dividend, the tax haven. Feted by

:03:23.:03:26.

some in the establishment, seen as vulgar in the eyes of others, but

:03:27.:03:30.

how much is Sir Philip Green really to blame for all this? Newsnight has

:03:31.:03:37.

heard the views from all sides in what everybody agrees is a sorry

:03:38.:03:41.

tale. So what really happened to BHS?

:03:42.:03:46.

Great value, good quality. It had all looked so hopeful. Money in one

:03:47.:03:51.

side, money out the other. Friends have told us Sir Philip Green thinks

:03:52.:03:55.

he should have sold it is a decade ago.

:03:56.:03:59.

When he did sell in 2015, it went for just a pound. But the buyer

:04:00.:04:04.

wasn't anyone you have heard of. It was a very little known businessman

:04:05.:04:08.

called Dominic Chappell. A man with no retail experience at all, but a

:04:09.:04:14.

very colourful past. So, who is he? Since his take over of BHS, it has

:04:15.:04:18.

merged that Dominic Chappell has been made bankrupt three times,

:04:19.:04:23.

although he insists that one of those bankruptcies is going to be

:04:24.:04:27.

annulled. Newsnight has discovered that 15 years ago he was charged

:04:28.:04:30.

with theft, and the handling of stolen goods in relation to the

:04:31.:04:35.

disappearance of a 47,00 pounds sports car. When we spoke to him

:04:36.:04:39.

about this, he invisited that the case had been thrown out, and that

:04:40.:04:44.

he was innocent. -- insisted. But what about those bankruptcies?

:04:45.:04:49.

Anyone wants to know about Dominic Chappell has to come here, to the

:04:50.:04:53.

Isle of Wight. We have just come off the hovercraft. He used to make this

:04:54.:04:59.

journey in his helicopter. This is island harbour, a unique and

:05:00.:05:06.

historical area, a true jewel in the Crown for the Isle of Wight. Not my

:05:07.:05:10.

words but those of this man. This is Dominic Chappell, the chief

:05:11.:05:14.

executive of island harbour holdings. At least he was. Until his

:05:15.:05:19.

development here went bust, seven years ago, owing more than ?20

:05:20.:05:24.

million. Much of it to local businesses, who were and still are

:05:25.:05:28.

absolutely furious, including the company that printed this brochure.

:05:29.:05:34.

How many did you make of these? From memory about 5,000. Tim lost out on

:05:35.:05:40.

nearly ?13,000. In this particular project we have to pay our paper

:05:41.:05:46.

suppliers who gave us the paper, ink suppliers, our people that did the

:05:47.:05:51.

Varnishing, we had to pay them as well. So a considerable amount of

:05:52.:05:54.

money other than staff that is paid out by a company, and this type of

:05:55.:05:57.

work happens. Would you say it was reckless the

:05:58.:06:04.

behaviour? Yes. Damaging and reckless? It damaged me to the tune

:06:05.:06:13.

of ?13,000. Hamilton's Fine Foods lost a similar amount If BHS phoned

:06:14.:06:18.

you and say we are thinking of selling up to this man, what would

:06:19.:06:22.

you have said? I would have been speechless they even accepted the

:06:23.:06:26.

approach. I would have say there is to way you can do this Mr Green.

:06:27.:06:32.

Well, there is a lot of prominent businessmen and women who have been

:06:33.:06:36.

through bankruptcies and administration so there is nothing

:06:37.:06:39.

wrong with selling a company to someone with a chequered financial

:06:40.:06:44.

past but this feels a bit different. BHS, such a prominent name on the

:06:45.:06:48.

high street but responsible for a lot of people's livelihoods and

:06:49.:06:52.

pension, so the questions that arrive now are is who was checking

:06:53.:06:58.

the credentialles of Dominic Chappell, and were enough questions

:06:59.:07:03.

asked at the right time. Right at the top of that list, who was

:07:04.:07:08.

vouching for Dominic Chappell? Sir Philip Green's lawyers ling laters

:07:09.:07:15.

told us they got reassurances from MrChappell's lawyers Olswang.

:07:16.:07:31.

That pels lawyers told us: -- Dominic Chappell.

:07:32.:07:41.

What is clear, is that everybody involved in the sale of BHS knew

:07:42.:07:45.

about Dominic Chappell 's bankruptcies but nobody thought they

:07:46.:07:48.

were a deal breaker. So a very rich Mansells his shops to

:07:49.:07:53.

another man, who has no retail experience. On paper that looks odd.

:07:54.:07:58.

Is there anything legally wrong with what happened? If you want to sell

:07:59.:08:03.

the asset and you own this company, you are entitled to dispose of it as

:08:04.:08:10.

you wish, and you don't have to ensure that the person purchasing

:08:11.:08:17.

the asset can comply with his or her own obligations to the company, that

:08:18.:08:20.

is after the event. You are entitled to dispose of your shares as you

:08:21.:08:25.

wish. The single most controversial part of the collapse was the hole in

:08:26.:08:30.

the staff pension scheme, valued at of ?570 million. Controversial

:08:31.:08:34.

because those pensions are being paid out of a rescue fund, that

:08:35.:08:38.

millions of workers have paid into. And not by Sir Philip Green, by

:08:39.:08:42.

Dominic Chappell, or by anyone else who has made money out of BHS.

:08:43.:08:47.

What has never before been revealed, is that two years ago, Sir Philip

:08:48.:08:53.

Green planned a massive restructuring of BHS called Project

:08:54.:08:58.

Thaw. One of the main things it would have achieved was putting more

:08:59.:09:03.

money into the pension fund including 80 million from Sir Philip

:09:04.:09:07.

Green himself. It needed approval and that is something the regulator

:09:08.:09:12.

wasn't prepared to give. At months of discussion the global economy had

:09:13.:09:15.

changed and project thaw was shelved. Could the regulator have

:09:16.:09:24.

saved the scheme? On Monday the boss suggest it had kept in the dark

:09:25.:09:29.

about plans to sell to Dominic Chappell 's group. They discussed

:09:30.:09:33.

propositions with us and the next we heard that there was a specific

:09:34.:09:39.

development, was the sale. Not so says the man who oversees the BHS

:09:40.:09:43.

pension fund. My recollection is clear, that all of the key

:09:44.:09:45.

stakeholders were involved in that sale process and we were all

:09:46.:09:49.

involved in regular dialogue and discussions Once it learned of the

:09:50.:09:54.

sale the pension regulator launched an immediate inquiry known as an

:09:55.:09:58.

anti-avoidance case, I spoke to Dominic Chappell at lent today and

:09:59.:10:02.

he said that inquiry had a huge impact on his ability to borrow

:10:03.:10:06.

money from banks at a competitive rate. He said the inquiry was, in

:10:07.:10:12.

his opinion, one of the main reasons that BHS had gone into

:10:13.:10:16.

administration. But others say there was one very

:10:17.:10:20.

simple option available to Sir Philip Green, but he failed to take

:10:21.:10:28.

it. It. John Ralph has been asked to provide specialist briefing on

:10:29.:10:32.

pensions to their inquiry If you are thinking about selling, and that

:10:33.:10:36.

could you know, that could increase the risk of the pension scheme,

:10:37.:10:40.

there is a very straightforward mechanism you can use, it is called

:10:41.:10:44.

preclearance, you go to the regulator you fill in a form, it is

:10:45.:10:47.

on the website, it is straightforward. You explain what

:10:48.:10:52.

the facts you are doing are, you explain the impact on pension scheme

:10:53.:10:55.

and what you are doing to mitigate that impact. That might involve

:10:56.:10:59.

putting in an amount of money, you then can get a sign off from the

:11:00.:11:03.

regulator, that they will not pursue you, and I think I would like to ask

:11:04.:11:08.

however strong your legal advice was, what was the commercial reason

:11:09.:11:11.

for not taking a bit of time and effort and trouble, and getting that

:11:12.:11:16.

preclearance. There are senior executives within

:11:17.:11:19.

BHS who believe the brand can be saved, but even if it is, the

:11:20.:11:23.

pension scheme won't be. That lifeboat fund will now prop it up.

:11:24.:11:28.

That raises bigger questions, some see this as an corporate equivalent

:11:29.:11:33.

of a get out of jail free card. Let us be clear, setting up the

:11:34.:11:38.

Pension Protection Fund was a progressive step forward, because it

:11:39.:11:43.

was wrong that if somebody lost their job in a company failure they

:11:44.:11:48.

should lose their pension. It is right to underwrite pensions in

:11:49.:11:52.

those situations but clearly it is open to abuse, by employers, taking

:11:53.:11:57.

money out of a company and then dumping responsibility on the

:11:58.:12:02.

taxpayer. There is every chance Sir Philip Green hasn't broken any rules

:12:03.:12:05.

at all to do with the sale of BHS, he stuck to the letter of the law,

:12:06.:12:09.

that he followed advisers' recommendation but there is a chance

:12:10.:12:13.

he will still have to write a big fat cheque to the pension fund? Why?

:12:14.:12:17.

Because his reputation really is at stake here. This whole complex story

:12:18.:12:22.

is about more than who is legally or technically right, it is about

:12:23.:12:26.

perceptions of fairness, about what we as a society think of as fair.

:12:27.:12:34.

At the marine that it was a new develop ever who pecked up the

:12:35.:12:37.

recommend napts of the failed venture, with BHS, it is now down to

:12:38.:12:42.

the Pension Protection Fund to help pensioners and the administrator to

:12:43.:12:50.

try to sell the company. He is analysing five or six separated by,

:12:51.:12:54.

one of which involves Dominic Chappell.

:12:55.:12:56.

Joining me now, the Labour MP Frank Field, who chairs the Work

:12:57.:12:59.

He has suggested Philip Green should hand back his knighthood

:13:00.:13:03.

if he doesn't cough up the money to cover the pensions scheme.

:13:04.:13:06.

Thank you for coming in. Let me ask you to help us unpack this, first,

:13:07.:13:10.

did you know that Sir Philip Green tried to plough back the profits,

:13:11.:13:15.

from BHS into the pensions fund, and that he was stopped from doing that?

:13:16.:13:22.

No. But quite a lot is emerging, and one of the roles of both business

:13:23.:13:27.

Select Committee and Work and Pensions Select Committee, coming

:13:28.:13:32.

together, is be able do a number of audits, so those audits, we hope

:13:33.:13:36.

will be tested but published by Parliament. There is some obvious

:13:37.:13:41.

questions that we need answering, first of all when was as Adam was

:13:42.:13:47.

suggesting there, when were the profits generated? And was it by

:13:48.:13:51.

book-keeping or by other arrangements? Real improvements in

:13:52.:13:57.

the firm? And to whom did they go? Let me go back on this one, if it

:13:58.:14:02.

turns out that he did in fact try and plough those profits back, from

:14:03.:14:06.

BHS, into the pensions fund, including that 80 million of his own

:14:07.:14:12.

money and he was stopped by the regulator, would that concern you

:14:13.:14:15.

and if so, where would you be looking now? Well, we are looking in

:14:16.:14:20.

lots of places, Would you question the regulator? Is the pensions

:14:21.:14:23.

regulator in your perview. We have questioned the regulator

:14:24.:14:35.

without knowing this and immediately companies on behalf of Sir Philip

:14:36.:14:39.

Green came back to disputing many of the key thing she said and again

:14:40.:14:43.

another audit which we will be doing to publish is, was this a failure of

:14:44.:14:51.

the existing law, or is the law adequate, but people trusted with

:14:52.:14:57.

enforcing it did not match up to the job? Are you clear what Philip Green

:14:58.:15:03.

has done wrong? No, that is the point of our inquiry. Do you think

:15:04.:15:09.

he has done anything illegal? We are not starting from a basis of

:15:10.:15:14.

anything illegal. Do you think he has been a moral? I am answering the

:15:15.:15:18.

first question. That side of whether nor has been broken is being looked

:15:19.:15:24.

at by the Serious Fraud Office. We have been in contact with them. I do

:15:25.:15:31.

not want to do anything that would allow inadvertently somebody to

:15:32.:15:35.

shout they cannot get a fair trial. Why would you say so clearly that

:15:36.:15:40.

Philip Green has a moral duty to make good the pension scheme, or I

:15:41.:15:43.

would personally recommend he should lose his knighthood? Why would you

:15:44.:15:49.

go back far if you do not know he has done anything wrong? He was in

:15:50.:15:55.

charge of the stewardship over a period where considerable dividends

:15:56.:15:59.

were paid. We want to look at to whom they went and also he was

:16:00.:16:06.

Stuart ineffective the pension fund. You know now he may have tried to

:16:07.:16:12.

put into that fund and been stopped. Why would you come out with a phrase

:16:13.:16:16.

that sounds like you are prejudging him? When you asked me on here you

:16:17.:16:22.

said you would mention this and we would pass on because there are

:16:23.:16:26.

important issues I would like to discuss. Let me have another go at

:16:27.:16:31.

answering. I think there is one in moral case. Those who are developing

:16:32.:16:42.

unacceptable face of capitalism. If you are a Steward, take the rewards

:16:43.:16:47.

and then walk away and find there is a mega some of money, that people

:16:48.:16:54.

will not get in full. Did he do bronchi think by selling it to Vista

:16:55.:16:59.

Chappel? He has not sold it to Dominic Chappell. I'm sorry, he did

:17:00.:17:07.

for ?1. Mr Chappell is up for buying it again. He is a businessman who is

:17:08.:17:16.

trying to make good. What was the thing that you think he actually did

:17:17.:17:20.

wrong that would lead you to say maybe we should rescind his

:17:21.:17:26.

knighthood? You do not have to rely on your lawyers whatever they are

:17:27.:17:29.

paid and that is part of the business inquiry. Who does advise

:17:30.:17:35.

for these deals and what are they paid, what do they take out of it?

:17:36.:17:40.

We have to go on the internet and find the man is three times

:17:41.:17:46.

bankrupt. To think he is a serious player with no retail experience, to

:17:47.:17:50.

whom you entrust the livelihood of a large workforce, the destiny of the

:17:51.:17:56.

foregone wages and salaries in the pension scheme, I would have

:17:57.:18:02.

thought, if the BBC was run like that, do you think it would have

:18:03.:18:05.

such an easy run from the government this week? Frank field, thank you

:18:06.:18:09.

very much. To those that live there,

:18:10.:18:11.

and those that don't, London often feels like a different

:18:12.:18:13.

country to the rest of the UK. Londoners seem to dress

:18:14.:18:16.

differently, live differently, think differently and -

:18:17.:18:19.

increasingly - vote differently. Polling suggests Londoners are more

:18:20.:18:35.

for the EU then the rest of the country.

:18:36.:18:35.

But what does that mean for the future of the capital?

:18:36.:18:38.

And more importantly, you'll no doubt be shouting at

:18:39.:18:40.

David Grossman offers us his thoughts.

:18:41.:18:48.

London has always been a bit different.

:18:49.:18:52.

It's not just its scale that makes it unique, but demography too.

:18:53.:18:54.

It's younger, better qualified and richer.

:18:55.:18:59.

Londoners are more likely to rent, more likely to live

:19:00.:19:02.

in a flat, and more likely to use public transport.

:19:03.:19:05.

And London politics has diverged from the UK as well.

:19:06.:19:10.

My name is Sadiq Khan, and I'm the Mayor of London.

:19:11.:19:14.

Sadiq Khan's victory in London was as emphatic as it was welcome

:19:15.:19:17.

It's been building since the late '90s.

:19:18.:19:25.

1997 was the first general election when Labour pulled substantially

:19:26.:19:30.

ahead of their national average voting figures -

:19:31.:19:34.

at least in London, compared with the rest of the country.

:19:35.:19:38.

It has continued since then, and in 2015, further ahead again.

:19:39.:19:42.

Now, whether this is because of changing Labour politics in the '90s

:19:43.:19:48.

and 2000s, the late '90s and 2000s under Tony Blair,

:19:49.:19:50.

or a change in the make-up of the London population -

:19:51.:19:54.

to be honest, nobody really knows, but the effect is obvious.

:19:55.:19:58.

It's not that the Conservatives are doing worse, it's that Labour

:19:59.:20:01.

is doing better at the expense of lots of smaller parties.

:20:02.:20:04.

One reason is that London has expanded well beyond its formal

:20:05.:20:07.

Early morning commuters crowd on to packed trains.

:20:08.:20:21.

As London has grown, many of the Conservative-voting

:20:22.:20:23.

middle classes have moved to the surrounding counties,

:20:24.:20:25.

driven by the search for affordable housing.

:20:26.:20:27.

The people who used to vote Conservative in places

:20:28.:20:29.

like Greenwich and Lewisham, they haven't stopped

:20:30.:20:31.

voting Conservative, they just don't live

:20:32.:20:32.

They are now voting Conservative out in Essex and Kent.

:20:33.:20:41.

In place of the middle classes have come migrants, from all

:20:42.:20:43.

Nearly 40% of Londoners were born overseas.

:20:44.:20:48.

It is totally different from anywhere else in the UK.

:20:49.:20:54.

No other region has anything like it, and that does make it look

:20:55.:20:57.

It has links to all sorts of parts of the world, not only personal

:20:58.:21:05.

links, but business links, and it simply and inevitably means

:21:06.:21:07.

that the way people think in London is always going to be a little

:21:08.:21:11.

different from middle England or middle Britain.

:21:12.:21:13.

We can see that difference in polling.

:21:14.:21:15.

In the UK as a whole, 60% put immigration and asylum

:21:16.:21:19.

in their top three issues facing the country.

:21:20.:21:22.

Housing is the most important issue, on 44%.

:21:23.:21:31.

But housing only rates 20% in the UK as a whole.

:21:32.:21:34.

Not only that, but when Londoners say they are concerned about asylum

:21:35.:21:38.

and immigration, they can mean something very different.

:21:39.:21:42.

Because an awful lot of people in London,

:21:43.:21:45.

immigration is important because they have come here to live,

:21:46.:21:51.

and they want to have the freedom to work and to live in London.

:21:52.:21:55.

If they are from elsewhere in the world they may

:21:56.:21:57.

want to have the right to bring their extended family

:21:58.:22:00.

here and come and live here, London works very different,

:22:01.:22:02.

immigration works differently in London because a lot

:22:03.:22:04.

And this different view of course feeds into the debate

:22:05.:22:08.

In the UK as a whole, one recent poll found

:22:09.:22:14.

that the Remain side was just two points ahead of the Leave side,

:22:15.:22:17.

whereas in London the Remain side was ahead by 12 points.

:22:18.:22:23.

It may be that Labour's dominance over the capital is shortlived.

:22:24.:22:31.

As the new luxury investment apartments go up, poorer Londoners

:22:32.:22:37.

may follow the struggling Conservative-voting middle classes

:22:38.:22:39.

The Boris boom created this sort of Dubai on Thames landscape we can

:22:40.:22:46.

If we see the sort of policies we have in London at

:22:47.:22:53.

the moment continuing, where you have on the one hand,

:22:54.:23:01.

up to 100 council estates are up for demolition, and on the other

:23:02.:23:04.

hand, you have 300 towers being built of predominantly luxury

:23:05.:23:07.

apartments all over the city, you have that twin track process.

:23:08.:23:11.

If that continues, what we are going to see is this

:23:12.:23:14.

hollowing out of the city, where it really is going to become

:23:15.:23:21.

a very, very different sort of environment,

:23:22.:23:22.

and in five to ten years' time you will have a very

:23:23.:23:25.

different population, and a very different demographic.

:23:26.:23:31.

Part of London's abrasive charm is it doesn't seem to care

:23:32.:23:35.

It is always been slightly detached from the UK as a whole,

:23:36.:23:43.

but there is perhaps a danger this remoteness turns into isolation -

:23:44.:23:45.

Mark Zuckerberg has today announced plans to invite

:23:46.:23:51.

from across the political spectrum to discuss accusations

:23:52.:23:58.

The Facebook founder and CEO has always denied allegations that

:23:59.:24:03.

Facebook routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative

:24:04.:24:05.

readers and that the company would artificially inject stories

:24:06.:24:08.

into what appeared to be user-generated trending topics.

:24:09.:24:12.

Launched in 2014, the topics appear for the right of the news feed

:24:13.:24:15.

The question is, has Facebook deceived its users by chosing

:24:16.:24:21.

And crucially, have they played to a left-leaning

:24:22.:24:28.

audience's preference for news in their choice of story?

:24:29.:24:34.

the head of social and trending content for the Independent.

:24:35.:24:38.

And Louise Mensch, the editor of Heat Street, who is in New York.

:24:39.:24:45.

Gina Rik Mayall, many people I think would be surprised to know Facebook

:24:46.:24:53.

is in the news game and it is such a big player. I would not say it was

:24:54.:24:58.

in the news game traditionally, in the way you and I understand it, but

:24:59.:25:04.

what people need to realise is that many people get their news via

:25:05.:25:08.

Facebook and that would be the Facebook news feed rather than what

:25:09.:25:13.

is generated in trending topics that only appear on desktops. Most people

:25:14.:25:19.

who use Facebook do it on mobile. Louise, do they have that much

:25:20.:25:25.

influence, does it make such a difference? Of course it makes an

:25:26.:25:30.

enormous difference. Facebook brings the world together and brings the

:25:31.:25:36.

world it's news. I think we have seen Facebook admit and Mark

:25:37.:25:41.

Zuckerberg admit that they have been suppressing conservative news. They

:25:42.:25:47.

issued a statement from a PR firm, a non-denial denial, saying we allow

:25:48.:25:52.

Facebook trending topics that are well supported. The question is,

:25:53.:26:01.

what is well supported? . We had a list yesterday. One right wing news

:26:02.:26:05.

source which was Fox News, the others were left wing including the

:26:06.:26:09.

Guardian, the BBC and New York Times. To be fair, Facebook says it

:26:10.:26:15.

monitors thousands of websites per week. There were right wing

:26:16.:26:24.

publications. It is not saying it feels it is left-leaning, it is

:26:25.:26:31.

saying it will invite Conservatives. It acknowledges it has relied for

:26:32.:26:36.

what is good enough to support a trending topic. If you are not

:26:37.:26:42.

supported by these sources, including the BBC, Guardian and New

:26:43.:26:45.

York Times, your trending topic is not good enough. I think you are

:26:46.:26:54.

being deliberately disingenuous. You are running a right wing leaning

:26:55.:26:58.

website and it looks good for you to say you are suppressed. I have not

:26:59.:27:03.

seen evidence of right or left-wing contents doing better or worse

:27:04.:27:17.

online. These are trending topics. Not news publications. The basic

:27:18.:27:23.

technological... We are not discovering which news publications

:27:24.:27:27.

are suppressed by Facebook and my publication only launched in the

:27:28.:27:32.

last couple of weeks. They are talking about trending topics, not

:27:33.:27:36.

news publications. Can we step back from this? Right wing sites, if they

:27:37.:27:44.

are suppressed, why are they successful on Facebook? The question

:27:45.:27:49.

is trending topics, not news sites. It is amazing you have a basic lack

:27:50.:27:54.

of knowledge on the issue at hand, it is topics, not news sites. Is it

:27:55.:28:00.

the political bias allegations that concern you all the idea that anyone

:28:01.:28:05.

is editing what we think of as a trending topic? Does that worry you?

:28:06.:28:12.

You have to have an element of human duration otherwise it would be easy

:28:13.:28:20.

for Isis to make a trending topic out of an execution video. The

:28:21.:28:24.

sources on which they rely are far too left wing. And that is why, and

:28:25.:28:30.

to give Mark Zuckerberg credit, he is willing to meet with conservative

:28:31.:28:35.

leaders and changes ways, which has to be a good thing. Did you hear

:28:36.:28:39.

that as an admission, that they think they have been biased? No. In

:28:40.:28:45.

the same statement he said he did not think the allegations were true.

:28:46.:28:49.

When you look at where they came from coming they came from one

:28:50.:28:53.

contract working with Facebook. They said that certain sites were not

:28:54.:29:00.

trusted. Like the one we mentioned before. What do you define as a

:29:01.:29:15.

right wing topic? Let's take all lives matter. They would promote

:29:16.:29:22.

black lives matter and the socially conservative response all lives

:29:23.:29:25.

matter would be suppressed. You think that is wrong? Yes, as long as

:29:26.:29:33.

something is not completely it... It is not child abuse, something like

:29:34.:29:37.

that, you have to treat topics equally. Your guest is confused.

:29:38.:29:44.

Should they treat all lives matter, a rival campaign setup in the wake

:29:45.:29:50.

of black lives matter, equally? I have no evidence Facebook have been

:29:51.:29:56.

treating all lives matter, black lives matter, unequally. When I look

:29:57.:30:02.

at the trending topics and what is there, I do not have a look and

:30:03.:30:06.

think, there is something that is not there or artificially. We have

:30:07.:30:15.

run out of time. I am sorry we have to end it there but thanks to both.

:30:16.:30:17.

I'll be back on BBC Two with This Week's World,

:30:18.:30:20.

Next on Artsnight, in a crisis-ridden world,

:30:21.:30:26.

with our national economy on the ropes, Tate director

:30:27.:30:28.

Nicholas Serota dares to ask, does contemporary art really matter?

:30:29.:30:33.

He visits Los Angeles and Middlesbrough, and talks

:30:34.:30:35.

to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

:30:36.:30:37.