Former Google Design Ethicist Analyzes Russia’s Campaign to Infiltrate Your Mind

Executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter have been testifying on Capitol Hill this week about their role in Russia’s campaign to infiltrate social media, spread division and try to influence the 2016 election.

Former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris joined Glenn on today’s show to talk about Russia’s scary, smart campaign to shape Americans’ ideas and turn us against each other.

“The question really that Americans need to be asking them is what is their role in enabling … Russian propaganda,” he said of the tech executives. “It ultimately affected 126 million Americans.”

He explained how Russians figured out how to make “a bunch of deliberately polarizing content” by using a diverse range of issues to create social media posts and Facebook groups that were pro-veteran, pro-immigrant, pro-police and pro-Black Lives Matter.

“They did it because they want it so we can’t talk to each other, and they were able to do that with Facebook,” Harris said.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: Tristan Harris, the founder of Time Well Spent. He is a magician when he was a kid, and a Google design ethicist. He has a great blog on -- on Medium: How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind.

He says, I'm an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. It's why I spent the last three years as a design ethicist at Google, caring about how to design things in a way that defends a billion people's minds from getting hijacked.

We use technology. And we focus optimistically in all the things it does. But I want to show you that it can also do the exact opposite. It can hijack and exploit your mind's weakness.

He's here to talk to us a little bit about the way the Russians did that and what's happening on Capitol Hill today. Tristan, welcome to the program. How are you?

TRISTAN: I'm great. Thank you, Glenn, for having me back.

GLENN: You bet.

Great conversation last time. Let's continue it. Let's start Facebook, Google, Twitter testifying on Capitol Hill today. And this makes me really nervous, for some reason. And I'm not sure exactly why.

(chuckling)

TRISTAN: Well, yeah. You know, they're testifying on Capitol Hill. And the question really Americans need to be asking them is, what is their role in enabling -- essentially, what's been discovered to be just totalizing Russian propaganda? It went from them first saying that it was about $100,000 in ads, which is a very small amount of ads. Not a big deal, right? But, really, that hid the bigger picture, which is that there were 470 Facebook groups that they created, and pages, that basically shared content that was shared organically, meaning just by all of us, by Americans, without even knowing it. And it ultimately affected 126 million Americans, which is 90 percent of the -- of the US voter base that voted in the last election.

So, you know, I think the real question we have to ask is: Given that the business model of these platforms is spreading engaging information, and the Russians figured out basically how to manufacture deliberately polarizing content -- I mean, they created groups around veterans rights, around immigration. They created pro-police groups, pro-Black Lives Matters groups. They created groups on both sides. And they did it because they wanted -- so we can't talk to each other. And they were able to do that with -- with Facebook.

GLENN: So, Tristan, this is something that we've been warning about since before Donald Trump came down that escalator and said he was going to be president. We had been warning for years that the Russians are deliberately trying to infiltrate and control the conversation and split us apart as a nation.

TRISTAN: Right.

GLENN: Nobody really wanted to pay attention. Everybody denied it. And I think still there's a lot of people who will listen to what he just said and say, "Oh, yeah, big deal, so it was -- no, it really was a big deal.

TRISTAN: Yeah.

GLENN: However, how do we -- how do we -- how do we want Google and Facebook to start controlling or deciding who gets to speak and who doesn't?

TRISTAN: Yeah. Well, this is an incredibly difficult area. Because essentially what we've created is systems that have exponential impact, right? There are apparently, as of yesterday, we found out in a judiciary committee, there's five million advertisers on Facebook. So if some of them are -- say China or North Korea. Or, you know, Russia. How would we know? You can't vet 5 million advertisers. Right?

So we had this problem where essentially by creating exponential impact that has the ability to take one advertiser and send the message to ten people in a very specific Zip Recruiter. And there's no way given all those different ad buys, happening literally 100 million times a second. When you load a page on Facebook, you know, in that snap of your fingers, there's this instant auction, and millions of people are competing for your attention. And Facebook can't look with human beings at every single one and say, is that Russia? Is that North Korea?

So we have this real problem on our hands, where we basically created this kind of runaway artificial intelligent system, except instead of the terminator, it's basically saying -- given this goal of, what can I show this human being that will capture their attention?

And it works really, really well. But it's not aligned with our democracy. Because what's good for capturing just your attention, basically is not the same as what's good at capturing everyone else's attention. So it takes society, like a paper shredder, through -- you know, it takes whole societies of input and spits out this sort of shredded society that only listens to its own information as an output.

So what we really need to do is change the structure of Facebook, in terms of who is paying. Because if we're the product, which we are. Our eyeballs are sold to advertisers. Which means that their business model is basically to keep us addicted, so that we -- they can keep selling our eyeballs to advertisers. You know, with that arrangement, we're kind of screwed, unless we change who is paying who.

You know, one option is to have people pay Facebook. But we're not going to be very happy about that. Because we've been getting it for free. And another option is have governments pay Facebook. But that's not -- that doesn't feel right either.

The challenge is, we find ourselves indebted into a situation where, you know, we don't like the current situation. We don't want to regulate free speech. But we also don't like the status quo. Because we honestly -- Glenn, I really believe we can't survive when the business model is basically catering to an individual's attention -- the most difficult thing for society is we have to be able to talk to each other and basically have open minds and say, "Well, what do you believe, and what do I believe?" And Facebook basically shreds that process, because we can't -- we don't even listen to the same information anymore.

GLENN: I'm also concerned that, you know, the government has pretty much stayed out of Silicon Valley for a long time, mainly because they're a bunch of dolts that don't even understand technology. I mean, I've talked to people in Washington, and their eyes glaze over, the minute you start talking about anything, I mean, at my level. And they just don't understand it. And you're like, "Oh, dear God, we're in trouble." But, you know, now they're starting to pay attention because it affects them. They see the power of -- of how it can affect people. And once the government gets involved, they will make sure that it helps them.

I mean, they have different goals. So what could -- what could Google or Facebook suggest, that would be good for the republic?

TRISTAN: Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, we have this challenge, right? We have thousands of people that go to work today at Facebook. And whatever their choices are, they basically are designing the information flows that affect 2 billion people. There's 2 billion people who use Facebook. As we said last time, that's more of the number of followers of Christianity, 1.3 billion of which use it every day. And so when they're designing the information flows, it's by design. It's going to influence all of those people's thoughts, right? Because they set up, basically whether or not the top of your news feed is your high school friend or it's the baby photos or it's Donald Trump every day. Right?

And so, yeah. I mean, we have to have an honest conversation about a few things. One is, for example, bots.

What people don't realize is that up to 15 percent in the academic literature, they say on Twitter, are bots. Fifteen percent of its users are bots.

GLENN: Explain that for people who don't know what bots are.

TRISTAN: Yeah. Bots are basically things that when you click on a page on Twitter -- you know, you see Glenn Beck or whatever, and it looks like it's you. It's got your photo. But you click on someone else, and it looks they're, I don't know, an Asian-American living in Kansas or something like that. And they're actually not. It's just a fake photo. And it's a fake profile. And the profile is run by a computer, which is called a bot. And the thing is that 15 percent of Facebook -- or, excuse me of Twitter's claimed users are actually bots.

Now, the problem is there's this ability to create manufactured consensus. So when you see, you know, someone tweet something, whether it's the president or it's someone else, you can have hundreds of thousands of people like it that are not people, but they're actually bots. So you can manufacture the sense that these certain messages are popular. You can also make conspiracies become trending. And if you make it trend, you make it true. So the reason I'm bringing this up is, one thing we can do is we make it -- we should have total disclosure for bots. So just think of it like a Blade Runner law. I mean, if you've seen Blade Runner which is out right now, it's all about, how do we know that someone is a human or a bot, or a cyborg?

And what you want is when you're on Twitter, having everything that is a bot to be labeled as such. I mean, why should our discourse be poisoned by essentially bots, especially when in this case, many of them were actually run by Russia? And Twitter has been crawling with bots. And the reason they don't shut them down is their current stock price is dependent on telling Wall Street, hey, this is how many users we have. So they can't shut down all of these other bots because then their user accounts drop, right?

GLENN: Holy cow.

TRISTAN: So that's why we have to have a conversation about why these companies won't really regulate themselves -- self-police themselves.

Now, I'm not a fan of regulation. I just want to make that really clear. I'm not trying to --

GLENN: Neither am I.

TRISTAN: I'm with you.

But the problem is, the status quo is also really not survivable. We need to be able to find some way that these companies have to do more. And given the fact that Facebook dug its heels in the ground for the last, you know, six months -- and, you know, why are we only finding out the day before the hearings today, that 90 percent of Americans were affected by Russian propaganda?

Now, you may not believe that. But that's literally the truth from the mouth of Facebook. And they've got all the data.

GLENN: So, Tristan, I want to go back on one thing you just said. You said, "This is not survival."

TRISTAN: Yeah.

GLENN: That's not hyperbole coming from you. Can you explain?

TRISTAN: No.

Well, you know, I think like you, I believe in free speech, and I believe in our need to be able to talk to each other and ask, "What is important for our society? And where do we want to go?" I mean, if you have kids, you want to ask, like, what do I want the world my kids are going to live in to be? Now, if we can't talk to each other, we can't make those decisions together.

And the problem with Facebook is that its business model is dividing societies, not deliberately, but because it's more profitability to capture your attention by showing things that just cater to your individual mind, right? Just your specific mind. By default, it means that every person is only looking at a feed that's related to their world.

So it's shredding society into these echo chambers where we only see our own beliefs. And I think the danger of that is that if we can't talk to each other, then there's violence. And I don't want to go there. But the point is, we need Facebook and these other companies to be basically -- instead of designing to shred our attention and capture it individually, to be designing for the most empowering, and enhanced public square we've ever built. Because it is the new public square. It's not just a product we used, given the scale of people who use these products. It is the public square.

Now, the question is, who is going to pay for that? And also, who is to say what the public square is? You know, do you want these young California guys at Facebook designing the public square for 2 billion people?

So it really brings in huge questions about governance, and how do you have what somebody -- these companies are private superpowers. They don't have militaries. But they have more influence, certainly on people's daily thoughts, than any government in history, that I know of.

GLENN: They also, at least Apple owns more treasuries than most countries do. So they -- they have more T-bills that they could dump if they wanted to get nasty as well. I mean, they're amassing enormous amounts of power.

Tristan -- go ahead.

TRISTAN: No, no. Go ahead.

GLENN: I just want to thank you for being on with us. And hope we can continue our conversation. It's extremely what you're talking about and what you're doing. Thank you so much. Tristan Harris.

TRISTAN: Absolutely.

GLENN: Founder of Time Well Spent.

11 things you can do to help stop the Great Reset

Photo by Arthur Franklin on Unsplash

The foundation of the American way of life is freedom from tyranny, which can only exist in a nation that defends the rights, powers, and property of individuals and families. Over the past two centuries, the greatest threats to liberty have come from governments, both foreign and domestic. And from the beaches of Normandy to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Americans have repeatedly conquered the challenges placed before them by those seeking to extinguish or limit individual rights.

However, over the past few years, a new, potentially catastrophic danger has emerged, but not primarily from the halls of Congress or state capitols. This threat to freedom has largely emanated from the board rooms of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful corporations, large financial institutions, central banks, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporate CEOs, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. ESG standards are also referred to as “sustainable investment” or “stakeholder capitalism.” According to a report by KPMG, thousands of companies, located in more than 50 countries, already have ESG systems in place, including 82 percent of large companies in the United States.

ESG standards are designed to create a “great reset of capitalism” and to “revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” ESG supporters plan to enact these radical changes by using ESG schemes to alter how businesses and investments are evaluated, so that instead of focusing on the quality of goods and services, profits, and other traditional economic metrics, companies — including financial institutions — are evaluated largely on their commitment to social justice and environmental causes and then assigned scores so that companies can be compared, rewarded, or potentially punished.

Supporters of the movement for a Great Reset also plan on using technology to limit free speech and privacy rights, and they support creating vast new government programs that are designed to transform the Western economy via the Green New Deal, European Green Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, and basic income programs.

Together, the proposals that make up the Great Reset represent the most serious threat to freedom in the West since the fall of the Soviet Union and perhaps since World War II. But there is hope. We can stop the Great Reset, but only if we act quickly and with great conviction.

Below are 11 steps you can take to push back against the Great Reset. These steps represent a powerful bottom-up, grassroots approach to the Great Reset’s top-down plan to remake the world. Although many of these steps won’t be easy for everyone to take, they are essential for ensuring that our children and grandchildren will grow up in a world that protects the rights of individuals and empowers families, rather than wealthy special interests, financial institutions, and large corporations.

1. Live Not by Lies: The time for remaining quiet is over. When you hear or see something that you know to be false, speak up. Be kind, generous, and compassionate, but do not, under any circumstances, allow lies to infect your life. Further, do not support organizations, publications, politicians, schools, or any other institutions that regularly promote false claims.

2. Buy Local: The reason the Great Reset is so powerful is because so many of us have become totally dependent on large multinational corporations. They can be easily manipulated in a way that small, local businesses cannot. Learn to buy local, whenever possible, even if it means spending more money on your purchases. Yes, big corporations offer conveniences and low prices that many small businesses can’t compete with, but those benefits come with a great cost: your freedom.

3. Bank Local: Big financial institutions and banks are driving much of the Great Reset movement. They have started to use their incredible wealth and power to alter society by financing only those businesses who agree to the terms of the Great Reset. This problem is going to get worse, so it’s important to find local banks and credit unions you can trust and who refuse to utilize ESG scores and other discriminatory schemes.

4. Support Local Farms: If you live in an area that has local farms and farmer’s markets, consider buying as many of your groceries as possible from farmers. In the future, food production and distribution are going to change dramatically. It’s important that you support local farmers and build relationships with individuals who can provide you with the goods you need in a time of crisis. One of our main goals must be to make local communities as self-sufficient as possible, and that cannot happen unless we support local farms.

5. Be Vocal: After starting to shop and bank locally, be sure to tell big financial institutions and corporations why they have lost your business. They need to know that their decisions have serious consequences.

6. Run for Local Government: Local and state governments will soon be our most important defense against the Great Reset. Consider running for your local school board, zoning board, or even for a state legislative office. If you don’t feel qualified for these positions, find someone who shares your values and help them run for office. If we don’t have control of our local governments, we won’t be able to halt the Great Reset.

7. Demand That Your State Pass Laws Against ESG Scores: In America, states have a tremendous amount of power to slow the Great Reset and protect their citizens from abuses by large corporations, banks, and international institutions. They can do this by passing laws that make the use of ESG metrics and other, similar systems by financial institutions illegal, when used as a precondition for banking services, financing, investment, etc. ESG scores are, by definition, discriminatory and should be made illegal by state lawmakers who care about protecting their citizens’ rights.

8. Make Responsible Spending a Key Issue for Politicians: In recent years, politicians on the ideological left and right have totally abandoned responsible fiscal policy in favor of vast money printing and loose monetary policies. The many trillions of dollars that have been “printed” in recent years put our economy at risk and are being used to fuel the Great Reset. Without these trillions of dollars of printed money, it would be exceptionally difficult for governments and financial institutions to buy off corporations.

9. Organize Anti-Great Reset Groups: No matter where you live, there are Americans in your community who do not support the Great Reset — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. Find like-minded neighbors and organize a local, peaceful resistance. Find people you can trust and agree to support one another when times get tough. Now, more than ever, we need to develop dependable communities.

10. Buy Property and Diversify: Property ownership is going to become increasingly more difficult in the months and years to come. It’s important that you work with a qualified financial adviser to help you figure out the best way to buy property and diversify your investments. Buying hard assets, including real estate and precious metals, could be a good way for you to protect against the Great Reset and a possible financial collapse. If you already own property, resist selling it to large corporations and financial institutions, whenever possible. (This is not financial advice, and I’m not a financial adviser. Talk to an expert you trust before taking action!)

11. Make the Great Reset a Litmus Test for Politicians: Before supporting politicians, find out if they know what the Great Reset is and what they plan to do to stop it. If they aren’t familiar with the Great Reset or don’t have a plan to halt it, then demand that they learn about the Great Reset and develop a proposal to prevent it. Political leaders who refuse to take the Great Reset seriously do not deserve your support. This is the key issue of our generation.

Scott Quiner was transferred over the weekend to a hospital in Texas after doctors in Minnesota threated to terminate life support measures as he battled severe complications from COVID-19. Scott's wife, Anne Quiner, appealed to the courts for a restraining order to prevent the hospital from pulling the plug as she sought a new facility to provide medical care for her husband. Scott was unvaccinated when he tested positive for COVID-19 in late October, 2021.

Anne and her attorney Marjorie Holsten joined "The Glenn Beck Program" Thursday to describe their frantic efforts to halt the hospital's decision to turn off Scott's life support — allegedly because he was unvaccinated — and just how difficult it was to get him the medical treatment he needed.

"It was absolutely stunning," Holsten told Glenn. "[Anne] came in and she has this order, I saw the screenshot from the [online medical] chart that said [Scott] is basically scheduled for execution at noon the following day."

According to Holsten, the Minnesota hospital responded to her appeal for a restraining order by claiming that the "position" to keep Scott alive "is not supported by medical science or Minnesota law. As a result, Mercy will ask the court to issue an order that Mercy has the authority to discontinue Mr. Quiner's ventilator and proceed with his medical care plan."

"The 'medical care plan' was the plan to discontinue the ventilator at noon, which leads to death very shortly. So that was at 10 o'clock, but then at 11 o'clock, before the 12 o'clock execution, the judge did, in fact, sign an order saying the hospital is restrained from pulling the plug," she added.

Anne told Glenn that doctors in Texas were shocked by Scott's condition after he arrived from the Minnesota hospital. Not only had he been given dangerous drugs, he was also found to be “severely malnourished."

"The doctor [in Texas] spent two hours with Scott and when he came back out, he said, 'I don't know how he even made it, how he even survived that other hospital ... but I will do everything I can to try to save his life,'" Anne explained.

"And the doctor [in Texas] said Scott was the most undernourished patient he has ever seen," Holsten added.

"Glenn, we are first bringing this battle to the court of public opinion," Holsten continued. "What we are showing the world is that Scott was near death because of the protocols used in that [Minnesota] hospital, but now he is recovering. He is getting better.... Now, we're not planning a funeral, we're planning for his release."

Watch the video clip below for more details.

If you'd like to help support the Quiner family, please consider making a donation to GiveSendGo.com/Anne.


Want more from Glenn Beck?

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The Great Reset is not just an elitist idea — it’s not even a socialist utopian concept. It’s a real-world fascist threat to every American from Wall Street to Main Street. It’s happening now in policies and cultural shifts big and small, obvious and subtle, from environmental promises to corporations going woke. But the mainstream media, global elites, and politicians brushed off the Great Reset as “nothing to see here.” Another myth they push: “The World Economic Forum is just a conference for elites who have no REAL power.”

Glenn Beck first exposed the Great Reset almost two years ago, and the globalist cries of "conspiracy theorist" soon followed. They said he believed the WEF was a “master cabal calling the shots from some evil underground lair.” But Glenn Beck never said that. Instead, he uncovered the true intentions of global leaders in finance and politics by simply highlighting their own words.

This week, the same global elites are doubling down on their agenda at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda virtual event. But still, the global elites — like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey — are trying to downplay the WEF’s influence to stop people like us from interfering with their plans. The oligarchy will prosper in the new world order they’ve designed. You will not.

So Glenn unveils a master chalkboard based on his best-selling new book to outline the threats from globalists and why we must stop their agenda if we hope to keep the precious freedoms we still have.

Watch the full episode of "GlennTV' Below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

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.

Kim Iversen, journalist, YouTuber, and host of "The Kim Iversen Show," reacted to Glenn Beck's appearance last week on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" by conceding that, while the subject of Beck's new book, "The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism" might at first sound "a little bit loony," closer analysis confirms "this isn't such a crazy conspiracy theory after all."

"Glenn Beck was on Tucker Carlson's show last week touting what has been called a right-wing conspiracy theory and discussing his new book, 'The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism'," began Iverson on The Hill's "Rising."

"Well, maybe that all sounds a little bit loony — and believe me, I do think Glenn Beck tends to be a loon," she quipped. "But, maybe this isn't such a crazy conspiracy theory after all. And after seeing everything we've seen with the governments enacting all sorts of authoritarian controls and many other conspiracy theories coming true, maybe there's something to be concerned about. So, what is the Great Reset? The name even sounds conspiratorial, but believe it or not, it's a real thing."

Iverson went on to explain exactly who is behind the Great Reset, what their agenda entails, how they are using the COVID-19 pandemic to "to rebuild society in a way the global elites see best fit."

"You'll own nothing and you will be happy: That's what they're saying," Iverson explained. "And with inflation sky high and no signs of it slowing down, they might be right. We are on our way to becoming a nation of renters, but don't worry it's nothing to fear ... don't worry, everything is being done under the premise that this is all ... being done for our own good, the benefit of a collective society, and we will be happy," she added sarcastically.

Iverson concluded by asking, "Who thinks it's a good idea that a bunch of corporate millionaire and billionaires and world leaders are getting together and coming up with what's best for we the little people? I mean, who thinks that that's a really good idea? And who thinks that they are going to be doing it for our benefit? But, of course they're going to frame it like 'Oh, this is good for you. You're going to rent. You'll own nothing and you'll be happy. Don't worry about it' ... When you look at the actual list of partners with the World Economic Forum, they control everything. They control media. They control health. They control business. They control everything, and so then it does become, how do we people fight against that?"

Watch the video clip below to hear Kim Iverson break it down and don' t miss Wednesday night's special episode of "GlennTV" on BlazeTV’s YouTube channel.

Iversen joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to discuss what The Great Reset is and how YOU can help stop it. Watch the video clip from "The Glenn Beck Program" below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

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.