Prominent conservative pundit Glenn Beck has written about Wednesday’s meeting with senior figures at Facebook, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to discuss recent allegations that the social networking giant has been suppressing conservative news stories in its Trending Topics feature.
More than a dozen leading conservative media figures spent time discussing the issue at Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ in Silicon Valley, and while Beck described a certain amount of hostility in the room toward the company, he himself was satisfied there’s been no concerted effort to suppress conservative content.
In a post on his website, Beck, who has more than three million followers on Facebook, said he’d found “no evidence of a top-down initiative to silence conservative voices … walking out of the meeting, I was convinced that Facebook is behaving appropriately and trying to do the right thing.”
He said he was “really impressed” with Zuckerberg’s manner during the meeting, describing him as thoughtful and direct. According to Beck, Zuckerberg admitted Trending Topics, which launched two years ago, is “far from perfect,” though he promised the company is working to make improvements.
In a surprise turn, Beck lambasted some of his fellow conservatives at the meeting for being too ardent in their demands, among them calls for diversity initiatives and a “six-month training program to help their biased and liberal workforce understand and respect conservative opinions and values.”
He said it was like “affirmative action for conservatives,” adding, “When did conservatives start demanding quotas AND diversity training AND less people from Ivy League Colleges. I sat there, looking around the room at ‘our side’ wondering, ‘Who are we?'”
“The overall tenor, to me, felt like the Salem Witch Trial: ‘Facebook, you must admit that you are screwing us, because if not, it proves you are screwing us,'” he wrote.
For Beck, even getting an invitation from Facebook was “staggering,” and it seems that until he sees any concrete evidence suggesting otherwise, he’s happy about how the company is going about its business.
As for Zuckerberg, he’s strongly refuted allegations of improper conduct regarding Facebook’s Trending Topics section. “We have rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives,” the CEO insisted last week. Beck, for one, seems convinced.
The controversy blew up last week after Gizmodo reported accusations made by someone who until recently worked on Trending Topics.
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