Glenn Beck says meeting with Facebook 'felt like the Salem witch trial'

Facebook CEO Meets With Conservatives Over 'Trending Topics'
Facebook CEO Meets With Conservatives Over 'Trending Topics'

Glenn Beck left his meeting with Facebook and other conservative leaders on Wednesday disturbed with how his right-wing peers handled the summit.

The political commentator and media figure wrote Thursday in a blog post that the meeting "was like affirmative action for conservatives."

He asked: "When did conservatives start demanding quotes AND diversity training AND less people from Ivy League Colleges."

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Beck was one of 16 conservative leaders and media personalities invited to Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters on Wednesday for a meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook execs to discuss allegations that the social network suppressed stories related to Republican viewpoints in its Trending Topics section. Other attendees included S.E. Cupp, Dana Perino, Trump campaign adviser Barry Bennett and CNN's Mary Katharine Ham.

During the meeting, attendees spoke with Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg about their concerns, were given a deep dive on Trending Topics, were trained on using the platform and were then offered a tour and an Oculus demo.

Beck called the meeting "deeply disturbing" -; not because of Facebook's actions but because of the actions of the other conservative attendees. He did not call out any one attendee specifically, but said he felt like people "had come with a list of demands."

Beck continued: "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.'"

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Beck's problem, he wrote, is that there was little evidence of wrongdoing. "Walking out of the meeting, I was convinced that Facebook is behaving appropriately and trying to do the right thing," he wrote.

Facebook has said it is investigating the allegations made in a Gizmodo report and has yet to find evidence to prove that conservative stories were suppressed.

Beck acknowledged that "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."

Several other attendees also have weighed in on the meeting. Cupp tweeted that it was "very productive" and included "strong commitments to address issues, as well as to work together on common goals." Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, called the meeting "cordial."

Originally published