The Most Disturbing Thing About My Meeting With Mark Zuckerberg

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet with some of the senior staff at Facebook, including the CEO and COO. I found the meeting deeply disturbing — but not for the reasons you might think.

Before I dig in, since I’ll be talking about bias, let me share a bit about mine. I have been an avid Facebook user for about 8 years. I have 3.2 million followers. I consistently see high engagement on my Facebook page. We have begun using Facebook’s live video streaming platform and are encouraged by the results and plan on utilizing it more. The Facebook staff has always treated me and my staff kindly. They have been responsive, helpful, and available. I came into the meeting today wanting to believe that Facebook was a good, if not perfect, actor.

RELATED: Glenn Meeting With Mark Zuckerberg to Talk Facebook, Free Speech

Walking out of the meeting, I was convinced that Facebook is behaving appropriately and trying to do the right thing. They were humble, open, and listened intently to everyone in the room.

So what disturbed me?

Before I answer, let me give a bit more background.

I am not an expert on data or AI or algorithms. If I had all the time, data, and money in the world, I would not be able to do anything with it.

I accept the possibility there may be evidence that Facebook — or said more clearly, someone or even multiple people who work for Facebook — may have done something that skewed the output in some way to game the system. But so far, I have not seen that evidence. And we looked for it. There are people at my company who understand this stuff far better than I do and they haven’t seen that evidence.

As a reminder, this entire controversy began when one former member of the Trending team — one — claimed Faceboook was suppressing conservative voices.

RELATED: Facebook Manager in Charge of Trending Topics Is Max Clinton Donor

Now I want to be very clear on this point. This issue, the Trending Topics issue, the reason we are supposed to be up in arms, is a relatively new product that Facebook readily admits is far from perfect. Maybe later we will go into the details of the multiple products and how each one MAY be impacted by an unconscious bias — and how Trending topics in particular MAY be vulnerable to manipulation — but the reason I went to Facebook was not to find out whether there was a small issue, but to see whether there was a real issue. A top-down initiative from management to marginalize conservative voices. We can, and will, debate the merits of some of the complaints against Facebook, but, in my opinion, there is no evidence of a top-down initiative to silence conservative voices.

Even if some employees would want to do so, it would be really hard. It does not seem reasonable to me (or the President of my company who is far more technical then I am) that this bias could have the impact some claim unless it comes from the top. Just a couple bad actors could not move the needle in a significant way.

I don’t know off the top of my head how many employees Facebook has, but it’s a lot more than one. I do know they have 1.6 billion users, and that serving those users can’t be easy. To ensure every user has the experience hoped for is no easy task, but what I saw at Facebook was a team of people who were trying.

So, why did Facebook hold the meeting at all if they are doing nothing wrong? Are they just looking for cover? Is this Kabuki Theatre? Am I a rube?

Maybe, but I’ve been called worse. If I find out there is more to the story, I will blast them — but I don’t think there is.

Why?

This is what I heard today:

In a country that is deeply divided, the largest and most important company in human interaction and content consumption saw the conservative movement in an uproar over ONE person, making ONE accusation, against ONE of their products. One story and the pitchforks came out. Now that’s something we conservatives are accustomed to, but not so much for those on the left.

Sure, the purpose of the meeting today was to appease the angry voices, at least to some degree. They took the opportunity to explain to us the details of their products and how they really can’t be consciously biased, although they did admit that unconscious bias can creep in. But to me, the purpose of the meeting from Facebook’s point of view was to acknowledge that if one story and one accusation can bring out the pitchforks, the more fundamental issue to address is a lack of trust.

Conservative media, which was started as a reaction to the inherent bias in the main stream media, does not trust anyone outside our circle. Hell, we don’t even trust the people inside our circle. So it’s understandable that going to Silicon Valley, for many conservatives, is like going into enemy territory.

THROWBACK: Why Does Glenn Believe the People of Silicon Valley Are so Important?

Silicon Valley is liberal, not a little bit liberal, a lot liberal. For example, I had a lunch today with a prominent Silicon Valley entrepreneur who donates to Democrats. If the internet is to be believed, he donated $250,000 to an Obama Super PAC. And when he (or was it someone else on his team?) described San Francisco, he described it as “leaning to the left.” Conservatives see San Francisco as falling off a cliff to the left.

That difference in perception is enormous.

I understand why conservatives are suspicious of Silicon Valley. It can feel a lot like the main stream media. But I’ve told you many times that I feel at home in Silicon Valley. I love the energy. These are people who want to innovate and disrupt, they want the government to stop regulating their businesses, they want small business to succeed, they value personal responsibility, etc. Why they are liberal? I don’t know, but in general, they’re not Progressives, at least not the folks I met with today (though I’m sure there were a few).

So, as a general rule, we do not trust them. And with one story, conservatives told Facebook, “There’s nothing left in the trust bank. There’s no goodwill. You must have been scamming us this whole time.”

I know I will be blasted by people for my position on this. I will be called a sellout. I will be accused of taking money or cowering for fear of retribution. (Of course, if I took the other side — that Facebook really was out to screw us, I would also be called names. Oh well, I just call it like I see it.)

So what disturbed me about the Facebook meeting?

I sat through a meeting that, to me, felt like I was attending a Rainbow Coalition meeting, that people (not me) had come with a list of demands.

I looked around the room, I heard the complaints, I listened to the perspectives, and not a single person in the room shared evidence of any wrongdoing. Maybe they had some, but it wasn’t shared. They discussed how Facebook’s organic reach and changes in algorithms has impacted their business. While at the same time admitting that Huffington Post has been struggling with the same issues. I heard people discuss community standards, pages being shut down, posts being removed — and I do believe that happens and it’s something Facebook could do better, and I hope they will — but we were not there because of that. We were there because of this ONE accusation on Trending Topics.

I sat there looking around and heard things like:

1) Facebook has a very liberal workforce. Has Facebook considered diversity in their hiring practice? The country is 2% Mormon. Maybe Facebook’s company should better reflect that reality.

2) Maybe Facebook should consider a six-month training program to help their biased and liberal workforce understand and respect conservative opinions and values.

3) We need to see strong and specific steps to right this wrong.

It was like affirmative action for conservatives. 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?’ Who am I? I want to be very clear – I am not referring to every person in the room. There were probably 25-30 people and a number of them, I believe, felt like I did. But 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.’

What happened to us? When did we become them? When did we become the people who demand the Oscars add black actors based on race?

Someone made a good point at the meeting. The invitation alone from Facebook is staggering. Conservative voices are rarely, if ever, invited to the table for an open dialogue.

Has Twitter, Google, or any other Silicon Valley giant invited conservatives to speak, to understand what we are feeling and seeing? Has any other company or entity said, ‘Yes, many of our employees are liberal, many of us don’t understand you, but our goal is to be an open platform where ALL ideas (with limitations on hate and abuse, etc..) are welcome?’ Has any other organization with 1.6 billion users admitted that while their foundational values are the opposite of ours, it is bad business to cut off a segment of the population?

Mark Zuckerberg really impressed me with his manner, his ability to manage the room, his thoughtfulness, his directness, and what seemed to be his earnest desire to ‘connect the world’. I asked him if Facebook, now or in the future, would be an open platform for the sharing of all ideas or a curator of content? When I asked this question I told him I support his right to pick either direction. They are a private-owned company with investors who can decide what is right for them. They can decide what is right based on profits or based on interests or on principles or on social justice. I hope that they want to be open, but I will fight for their right to be who they want to be even if I do not like their decision. Without hesitation, with clarity and boldness, Mark said there is only one Facebook and one path forward: ‘We are an open platform.’

He went on to discuss that they are far from perfect, that they are always working on the algorithms, the improvement of the newsfeed, the user experience, etc. The goal, though, was very clear – to be an open platform. When I looked into his eyes and his team’s eyes, I believed him and I believed them. I hope I am not proven wrong.

How do I square this with other accusations from people and organizations I respect like CPAC and Matt Schlapp? I can’t. I don’t know what CPAC experienced, and I don’t know if they are right or not. I have seen Steven Crowder’s complaint, and I have no response other than I love Steven and hope he gets the satisfaction he deserves. I have spoken to others off the record who have made similar claims as CPAC’s. How do I square those complaints? I can’t.

RELATED: ACU Chairman: Conservatives Want to Take a Two-by-Four to Washington, D.C.

Maybe one day, maybe one day soon, I will be able to synthesize these two opposite perspectives. Maybe one party will show solid evidence or a smoking gun. But until then, based on our research and my personal experience with Facebook, I believe they are acting in good faith and share some very deep, fundamental principles with people who believe in the principles of liberty and freedom of speech.

Featured Image: Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman, Chief Executive, and Co-founder of Facebook

Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 486,702 (up from 434,595 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 22,022 (up from 19,603 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 117,448 (up from 111,853 Yesterday)
  • 4% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 4% Yesterday, and down from 19% in February
  • Note that 12% of US Confirmed Cases do currently require Hospitalization, but that number is expected to drop toward the international average as more people are diagnosed through testing.
  • US has 65,581 Confirmed cases and 1,036 Deaths, up from 54,941 cases and 784 Deaths yesterday
  • US has 428 total officially recovered, against 1,036 official deaths. Again, US numbers are expected to normalize toward international averages as more mild cases are diagnosed.

Brother, Can You Spare $2 Trillion? https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/25/coronavirus-stimulus-bill-updates-whats-in-the-2-trillion-relief-plan.html
  • US Senate Passes the largest economic stimulus bill in world history.
  • The Senate passes a roughly $2 trillion economic relief plan in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It includes direct payments to Americans, strengthened unemployment insurance, loans to businesses small and large and increased health care resources for hospitals, states and municipalities.
  • Loans to small businesses are technically 'grants' covering payroll and rent payments. Grants do not have to be repaid.
  • It is unclear when the House will pass the legislation, though it aims to do so Friday.
Every American Will Get $1,200 in 2-3 Weeks, $2,400 plus up to 4 months Unemployment Benefits https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8152139/Every-American-four-months-unemployment-checks-earning-95-000.htm
  • Workers will get four months of unemployment pay plus additional $600 each.
  • Direct checks to Americans include 1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year before phasing out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000
  • That would result in $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with an additional $500 per child for each household.
  • 'Our expectation is within three weeks we will have direct payments out,' Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.
Cuomo Confirms What Introverts Have Long Known: Social Distancing Works https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/3077011/coronavirus-new-york-governor-andrew-cuomo-says-early-signs-show-social
  • Stringent density control measures may be working to contain the coronavirus in New York state, the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak in the US, as the rate of hospitalization shows early signs of abating, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.
  • New York, which has 19 million residents and nearly 31,000 infections, now accounts for 56 per cent of the confirmed cases in the country and more than 7 percent of the world's total.
  • Cuomo had ordered all but essential businesses to shutter by Sunday evening and residents to limit their outdoor activities and practice social distancing, effectively putting the state on pause.
  • On Tuesday, the number of hospitalized patients had doubled every 4.7 days, slowing from the rate of every 3.4 days on Monday and every two days on Sunday, Cuomo said at his daily coronavirus briefing.
  • "This is a very positive sign," he said. "The arrows are heading into the right direction."
Were the Beads Worth It? Mardi Gras Gets Blame for Big Easy Outbreak https://news.trust.org/item/20200325200808-oc1ie
  • "Mardi Gras was the perfect storm, it provided the perfect conditions for the spread of this virus," said Dr. Rebekah Gee, who heads up Louisiana State University's health care services division.
  • She noted that Fat Tuesday fell on Feb. 25, when the virus was already in the United States but before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and national leaders had raised the alarm with the American public.
  • "New Orleans had its normal level of celebration, which involved people congregating in large crowds and some 1.4 million tourists," Gee said. "We shared drink cups. We shared each other's space in the crowds. People were in close contact with catching beads. It is now clear that people also caught coronavirus."
  • New Orleans is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the United States, dimming hopes that less densely populated and warmer-climate cities would escape the worst of the pandemic, and that summer month could see it wane.
  • Authorities have warned the number of cases in New Orleans could overwhelm its hospitals by April 4.
  • New Orleans is the biggest city in Louisiana, the state with the third-highest caseload of coronavirus in the United States on a per capita basis.
  • The growth rate in Louisiana tops all others, according to a University of Louisiana at Lafayette analysis of global data, with the number of cases rising by 30% in the 24 hours before noon on Wednesday.
  • On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a major federal disaster declaration for the state, freeing federal funds and resources.
US Military Officially On No-Travel Lockdown https://news.trust.org/item/20200325203242-zgoc4
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued a "stop all movement" order to the U.S. military halting travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus through the ranks.
  • The measure is by far the Defense Department's most sweeping to date and will affect forces around the world.
  • Esper said in an interview that the order applied to all U.S. troops, civilian personnel and families, but noted that there would be some exceptions.
  • "The purpose is to make sure that we're not bringing the virus back home, infecting others, that we're not spreading it around the military," Esper said.
  • The order does include personnel who were to have been scheduled to be formally discharged from the Military in April or May.
  • Esper said one exception to the order would be the drawdown underway in Afghanistan, which will continue.
For The Best Darn Facemask In The Whole Wide World... https://www.foxnews.com/us/mypillow-other-us-companies-making-face-masks-to-meet-coronavirus-shortages
  • In Minnesota, the MyPillow company is refocusing 75 percent of its production to face masks for health care workers.
  • "We have the capacity to make a lot of things at big rates and we're going to be going hopefully from 10,000 units a day to 50,000 units a day in a very short period of time," CEO Mike Lindell told FOX 9 of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
  • The masks will go to hospitals in Minnesota as well as other states, he said. "Whatever it takes."
  • MyPillow worked with the Trump administration to get the proper design, Lindell told local Fox News 9.
  • Lindell joins literally hundreds of other companies in the US who have heeded the call of the Trump Administration to covert production to respirators, masks, ventilators, gowns and other needed medical equipment.
Further Evidence that COVID-19 Is Seasonal and May Spread Less in Summer Months https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-could-become-seasonal-top-us-scientist-001146451.html
  • There is a strong chance the new coronavirus could return in seasonal cycles, a senior US scientist said Wednesday, underscoring the urgent need to find a vaccine and effective treatments.
  • Anthony Fauci, who leads research into infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told a briefing the virus was beginning to take root in the southern hemisphere, where winter is on its way.
  • "What we're starting to see now... in southern Africa and in the southern hemisphere countries, is that we're having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season," he said.
  • "And if, in fact, they have a substantial outbreak, it will be inevitable that we need to be prepared that we'll get a cycle around the second time," Fauci said, referring to a 2nd cycle in the US late next fall in November or December.
  • "It totally emphasizes the need to do what we're doing in developing a vaccine, testing it quickly and trying to get it ready so that we'll have a vaccine available for that next cycle."
  • Fauci's comments suggesting the virus does better in colder weather than it does in hot and humid conditions follows a recent Chinese research paper -- still preliminary and awaiting peer-review -- that reached the same conclusion.

Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 434,595 (up from 392,156 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 19,603 (up from 17,138 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 111,853 (up from 102,850 Yesterday)
  • All 195 Countries On Earth have confirmed cases Antarctica (not a country) Still No Confirmed Cases. Penguins officially confirmed to NOT be carriers for COVID-19.
  • 4% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) down from 5% Yesterday, and down from 19% in February
  • Note that 13% of US Confirmed Cases do currently require Hospitalization, but that number is expected to drop toward the international average as more people are diagnosed through testing.
  • US has 54,941 Confirmed cases and 784 Deaths, up from 46,168 cases and 582 Deaths yesterday
  • US has 379 total officially recovered, against 784 official deaths. Again, US numbers are expected to normalize toward international averages as more mild cases are diagnosed.

LA County Sherrif Orders Gun Stores Closed https://www.foxla.com/news/la-county-sheriff-orders-gun-stores-to-close-adds-1300-deputies-to-patrol
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva declared gun stores as nonessential businesses that will be forced to close.
  • The Sherrif also confirmed that he's released 1,700 nonviolent inmates from county jails.
  • Villanueva also said he's adding 1,300 deputies to patrol.
America Loses 500,000 Millionaires to COVID-19 - Bernie Sanders Elated https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/markets/america-e2-80-99s-millionaire-ranks-shrink-by-500000-in-record-time/ar-BB11DrqN
  • At the close of 2019, there were an unprecedented 11 million American millionaires, a reflection of the longest bull market in history thanks to ultra-low interest rates and tax cuts.
  • Fast forward just a few months and it's a starkly different picture. The number of households in the U.S. above that threshold has dropped by at least 500,000 as of Friday, according to research firm Spectrem Group.
  • The tandem financial and health crises wrought by COVID-19 have disproportionately eroded the fortunes of the wealthy, who are more likely to own equities than the overall population.
  • At the end of 2019, the top 1% of households owned 53.5% of equities and mutual fund shares, according to Federal Reserve statistics.
  • The losses affected the rich at every level, from the mass affluent to those worth more than $25 million, according to the report. The wealth destruction at the very top has been especially steep, with the top 1% of households losing over $7.9 Trillion in wealth so far in 2020.
50% of Americans Living Under Shelter In Place or Home Quarantine Orders https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/more-than-half-of-us-population-will-be-under-orders-to-stay-home-by-midweek
  • The majority of the public will be ordered to stay home in the coming days as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation.
  • A total of 13 states and at least 16 municipalities have enacted measures to keep residents inside their homes to prevent the spread of the virus, according to CNN.
  • That number, which amounts to 148,577,262 people, or 45% of the population, is expected to grow this week as five more states and nine more municipalities institute additional measures.
  • After the new orders go into effect, a total of 176,385,537 people, or 54% of the population, will be asked to stay home.
  • Many states and cities have not named a specific date, although some, such as LA County and the State of New York, have identified April 19th as the target 'end' of the at-home quarantine orders.
Uniformed Military Personnel Set Up Make-shift Morgue Outside NYC Hospital https://nypost.com/2020/03/24/makeshift-morgue-for-coronavirus-victims-set-up-outside-nyc-hospital/
  • In a scene reminiscent of Hollywood disaster movies (and more recently China, Italy and Spain), US Military personnel have set up a tent-based morgue outside of Bellvue Hospital in NYC.
  • Two refrigerated trailers were trucked to the site at 30th Street and the FDR Drive, along with a customized RV with a printed sign labeled: "MOBILE COMMAND CENTER — MEDICAL EXAMINER."
  • A team of men wearing camouflage fatigues and face masks set up a series of white tents that form a tunnel to a larger, white tent.
  • Other men wearing jackets that identified them as members of the NYPD and the city's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were also at the scene.
  • A source familiar with the operation said that additional refrigerated trailers would be brought to the site and that similar set-ups would be built up outside other hospitals.
  • "The plan is for them to be there and throughout the city," the source said, with as many as 6 temporary morgue locations near hospitals in New York City.
UV Rays Proven to Destroy SARS-Cov-2 Virus https://www.accuweather.com/en/health-wellness/what-infection-rates-in-iceland-and-australia-may-reveal-about-how-covid-19-could-spread-in-the-us/707057
  • The infection rate for COVID-19 is 22 times higher in Iceland as compared to Australia.
  • The research comes as scientists in Hong Kong demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is easily destroyed with UV light, just like all other known Coronaviruses.
  • "Direct exposure to UV light breaks down the membrane that houses the RNA of the virus," Dr Lon Kiang, lead researcher of the study said. Without the membrane, the virus cannot attach itself to healthy cells in the human body.
  • "This was expected, but is still certainly good news," he said.
  • Researchers said the findings may indicate that the virus will have a harder time spreading during warmer summer months, when more UV light strikes surfaces, including clothing and human skin, which may contain viral particles.
  • Scientists warned against directly and intentionally exposing skin to UV lights, which can cause burns and carries other risks, such as Cancer.

The mainstream media and the left are eager to report anything negative about President Donald Trump, even if it turns out to be Chinese Communist Party propaganda and disinformation.

On "GlennTV," Glenn uncovered some of the lies China's Communist Party is peddling to its own people and the rest of the world.

Watch the video clip from GlennTV, available exclusively at BlazeTV.com.

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Diagnosed with pneumonia and coronavirus, Rio Giardinieri, 52, was admitted to the ICU at Joe DiMaggio hospital in South Florida. After more than a week without showing any improvement, doctors told him there was nothing more they could do. Desperately ill, Giardinieri started saying his "goodbyes" to family and friends.

That's when a friend told him there was a potential "cure" for coronavirus, an anti-malaria drug called hydroxycloroquine. Though doctors at the hospital said they couldn't prescribe hydroxycloroquine, they put Giardinieri in touch with an infectious disease doctor who authorized the use. The next morning, he says he woke up feeling "absolutely perfect."

Giardinieri joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to share his remarkable story and to weigh in on why he thinks information about this promising treatment for COVID-19 isn't being made more readily available.

"I'm not a scientist. I'm not a doctor. I can just tell you how I feel. And I know that I was not doing well. In my mind, I didn't believe I was going to be here by the morning," Giardinieri said. "I don't know what else to attribute [for recovery] but that medicine ... and it's not just me that it's worked for. There're many people this has worked for. So, you know, I certainly understand the hospital's position. They may not be too happy me telling the story. But the facts are the facts."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Use code Glenn to save $10 off one year of BlazeTV.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.