Glenn Beck participated in a Q&A with Kirsten Salyer of TIME magazine following the meeting he and 16 other conservatives had with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the social media company’s Menlo Park, CA, headquarters.
The tech billionaire called the meeting as an exercise in damage control following public furor over reports that Facebook deliberately suppresses conservative news stories in its “trending” news section, while at the same time boosting the signal of leftwing stories about issues like Black Lives Matter.
Despite these reports from several Facebook whistleblowers, Beck tells TIME that he believes Zuckerberg and his staff are “sincere” and have, in fact, treated conservatives even better than the Republican Party.
Read an excerpt of the Q&A below.
Do you trust Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg?
Mark looks a man in the eye the entire time. I watched him carefully. And I watched Sheryl [Sandberg] and Peter Thiel and the whole team. Not one time did I get a sense that they were saying these things to get this off their back. I think they’re sincere.
I would hope that conservatives would recognize that a company that is really 80% global does not need to kowtow to anyone, but they recognize for the first time they have called conservatives and said: “Hey, we want you here. How can we make this better?”
I think that’s really important. And I believe them.
The other thing that I think is important is, I’ve heard some people saying they should have some sort of training where conservatives are called in to give them some sort of sensitivity training; there are a lot of liberals that don’t work around or know any conservatives. Some also say that maybe they should have hiring quotas and they should hire a certain number of conservatives.
I, for one, am a conservative because I believe those things don’t work. I would hope that we wouldn’t be a type of people that would try to jam down a private business’ throat systems and things that we know don’t work. That’s not who we are.
Thursday morning you posted a poll to your Facebook page asking whether moral standards change with the times. How do you think moral standards for social media platforms need to change with the times?
That was one of the conversation I had with [Twitter co-founder] Ev Williams yesterday. He’s a guy who’s a big Obama supporter. And I was obviously not. And we talked about how do we bring the country together. How do we get people not to be so vitriolic and return to reason?
And I think it’s going to be difficult, but I think if people on both sides of the aisle—and especially powerful leaders in the media—set an example, we might be able to return to those values and standards that we used to have just inherently—that we listed to each other and treated each other with dignity.
That was what was so impressive yesterday at Facebook. They said to us the exact opposite of what it feels like to a conservative that the media and even the Republican Party have said. The Republican Party has said: “Conservatives, you don’t belong here. And we’re not really listening. And because of that you don’t really have control over your own life.”
And what Facebook said yesterday was: “You do belong here. We are listening to you. And with the right AI, you will have control over your information and what you view.”
And that’s what people are looking for now. And if we can do that and start opening up pathways to a dialogue, we will change the world.
Read the rest here.