Media giant Glenn Beck hit hard at those who’ve been criticizing his defense of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, saying the reason the social-media site might swing left is because more liberals use social media, and that implementing hiring quotas to bring on more conservatives is really a tool of “progressives,” not free-market thinkers.
The comments followed a meeting conservatives had with Zuckerberg last week to discuss reports from Facebook whistleblowers that news curators working at the company were purposely suppressing stories that lean right and keeping them from the much-coveted trending news list.
Beck’s comments also come as Zuckerberg sent out a statement denying “systematic political bias” at his company, while admitting nonetheless that some employees may have played a larger role in determining news content than they should have, and that as a result. some inadvertent bias did occur in the trending-topics section.
Zuckerberg said, too, he was sending employees for retraining and revamping how the site practices some story selection so that conservatives aren’t left in the cold.
Beck, meanwhile, has fielded some heat from fellow conservatives over hotly contested views of Facebook’s perceived bias.
Tucker Carlson, face of the Daily Caller and Fox News morning shows, said to Politico that Beck, at the recent meeting Zuckerberg hosted for conservatives, “acted like he was auditioning to be Mark Zuckerberg’s manservant,” and the Blaze founder’s behavior was “the most extended assiduous suck-up I think I’ve ever seen a grown man commit.”
Beck took umbrage with Carlson’s expressed desire to see Facebook hire more news curators from the conservative camp, saying “quotas” don’t work in business. He said, in a post at GlennBeck.com, that forcing “quotas” on businesses like Facebook, and making them hire a certain number of conservatives to balance out the liberals, is a “progressive” principle.
“What [Carlson] is saying about what he said at the meeting is not true,” Beck wrote. “Shouldn’t it be representative of how many conservatives there are? Shouldn’t you hire that way? That’s a quota. Quotas don’t work. Quotas don’t work. And the only ones that believe that are progressives on the right and progressives on the left.”
Beck also wrote, on his GlennBeck.com page: “I never said that there isn’t bias on Facebook or that Facebook doesn’t lean strongly left as a platform. What I have said is I have not seen any evidence that there is a concerted organized effort from Facebook’s leadership, including their algorithms that purposefully skew things or try to suppress conservative topics or stories.”
He also said he believed certain conservatives, like Steven Crowder, truly see evidence of bias at Facebook.
“I’m not saying that they haven’t been unfairly treated or that bias from Facebook employees doesn’t exist,” he wrote. “I’m saying I haven’t been presented with that evidence.”
And here was an example he gave: “Last week, one of the guys said that he has seen his traffic go down 50 percent, and it’s because he’s a conservative, when they changed the algorithm. But even he admitted that Huffington Post had gone down 70 percent because of the same algorithm change. So it’s clearly not a conservative bias.”
Beck also pointed out that Facebook is a “privately-owned, publicly-traded company,” and a “private platform,” not “under any obligation to share their algorithm” with the general public.
“Nor should they,” he said. “This is like going to a drug company and saying, ‘Hey, we know you have a license for this, we know you invented it, but you should give us the formula.’ No. They are a private company, publicly traded. It is their rules, not ours. And if we don’t like it, we can leave at any time, but I don’t suggest it because Facebook is the medium of the future.”
And Beck’s biggest problem with the attacks from the conservative camp over Facebook?
“What is frightening to me is that so many so-called conservatives, who are actually progressive Republicans – and note, this does not include Crowder who has openly stated that Facebook is privately owned – but these conservatives, these progressives that would make claims against Facebook as if they had any right whatsoever to demand or lay claim on something that was invented and owned by someone else. Those who believe they have such a claim should check their premise. Their premise is wrong. Their premise is not based on anything that is conservative,” he wrote, adding that if Facebook is “truly open,” it will lean left.
“Why? Because this is the psychology of the left,” he said. “They are psychologically addicted to having their ideas validated by others because reality doesn’t validate their ideas. Because reality shows them that they are wrong, they must have others validate their ideas. Conservatives don’t have a psychological need to be cheered on and validated by others because our ideas are validated in the real world. That’s why we’re not engaged like the left is. We see it work, so we just go to work and continue to do it. … Conservatives are less likely to be posting, we are less likely to be shrieking to be listened to, whining until someone gives us the thumbs up. In life, correct moral principles applied to situations provide their own validation. It’s called success.”