Glenn Beck

Stossel: Glenn Beck vs. Big Tech

Glenn Beck says social media outlets are biased against conservatives.

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Social media companies like Facebook don't show you all your friends' posts. You may think they do, but they don't. Instead, an algorithm picks which ones to show you—and which not to show you. How do they decide? The companies won't reveal the details.

Glenn Beck, publisher of the major conservative outlet The Blaze, tells John Stossel that social media companies are biased against conservatives.

Beck says Facebook reduces his posts' reach. And he notes that when a video made fun of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi by slowing down her voice, Facebook put a warning on the post and reduced its reach.

Beck mentions that while social media companies censor right-wing sites that might advocate violence, similar left-wing groups still have Twitter accounts.

In Portland, Oregon, antifa thugs attacked journalist Andy Ngo because he had criticized the group's violent tactics. They kicked him and punched him in the head. The attack left Ngo with brain damage.  

But the account of the local group, Rose City Antifa, is still on Twitter. The group justifies the attack on Ngo on their website: "If you rally the far-right to attack our city and profit by their violence, you are one of them. And the community will stop you, however it can."

Other antifa accounts are still up—despite supporting violence, Beck points out.

"In Austin they were actually calling for the next phase to have people be a paramilitary operation. That was up forever," he tells Stossel. 

The Austin antifa group's Facebook page is still up, linking to a manifesto calling for antifa's opponents to be "beaten bloody…annihilated."

Beck says a double standard exists because social media companies are based in left-wing San Francisco. Also, they mostly hire Democrats.

A Spinquark analysis found dozens of former Democratic staffers working at social media companies.

Stossel pushes back at Beck: "They must hire some Republicans, too."

"They do, but it's about 20 percent and they're not from top-level positions," Beck replies.

In the case of the Pelosi video that was shown to few people, Beck says, "The person who was in charge happened to be…one of the leaders in Nancy Pelosi's office, who had just left Nancy Pelosi's office to go to work [at Facebook]."

But Beck doesn't want hiring quotas. He says he opposes affirmative action for conservatives in social media.

"It bothers me that there are so many conservatives [who] want more regulation," Beck says.

Stossel suggests Beck is not consistent about that. After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) claimed immigrants were "being told by [border patrol] officers to drink out of the toilet," Beck demanded that she be punished.

"I would prosecute anyone making outrageous charges like this," he said on Blaze TV.

When Stossel asks about that, Beck laughed and backed off the idea.

"I speak five hours off-script every day. There's a lot of stuff that I vomit out!" he replies.

"So, you're not eager to prosecute Cortez?" Stossel asks.

"No. No. No." Beck replies.

Stossel says he's glad Beck walked that back. "Truth comes out through argument—open debate. The more social media companies censor, the less we learn."

Stossel notes that social media companies have a right to censor—but that, on at least some social media platforms, if not all, all speech should be free.

Beck agrees, "We can handle it. Stop treating us like children."

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

NEXT: In Today’s America, Everybody Who Disagrees With You Is a Traitor

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  1. Transcipt, PLEASE, you god damned hacks.

    It’s bad enough to see how far the editorial standards of this site have fallen over the last decade, or that mouth breathers like Dahmia continue to be employed as writers, but at least would you put up fucking transcripts for interviews?

    I’m honestly amazed that Stossel continues to be willing to associate with this fly-by-night outfit

    1. Please, by all means, ask for your money back! And let us know how it goes!

      1. Someone got triggered!

  2. People that demand censorship, are folks that don’t have actual arguments.

  3. “I speak five hours off-script every day. There’s a lot of stuff that I vomit out!” he replies.

    At least the man is self aware.

    1. He’s not entirely wrong in what he said either and his stance was, arguably, more honest and libertarian than Stossels’ idiotic “Do you really think people should be held responsible for stuff they say? Even lies?” position.

    2. I speak many hours a day, and sometimes I start talking about how dumb blacks are and stuff, it just happens when you talk a lot that stuff like that happens!

  4. That platforms like FB are biased against conservatives isn’t seriously in doubt. The evidence is overwhelming, we have multiple whistle blowers from inside the companies.

    The entire debate is over whether they’re entitled to be so biased, and what consequences should properly attach to that bias.

    “Stossel notes that social media companies have a right to censor—but that, on at least some social media platforms, if not all, all speech should be free.”

    I think we could agree on that, but it’s going to require some serious penalties when those free speech platforms get denied financial or IT services. Right now your right to start your own platform is only theoretical, in practice if you don’t censor the same people the incumbent platforms would censor, they find ways to shut you down.

    1. They do the same thing with companies selling firearms. Banks deny money transfers and small mom and pop gun shops can’t get financed. It seems a market exists for finance and IT support for non-progressive companies, I don’t know why people haven’t started. Big gun and outdoor distributors need to go into the personal finance business. They should pool resources to at least start a credit card company so they can in house process transactions.

    2. I’d be curious about the “multiple” whistleblower claims — I can find no reference to anything credible, and the axios report from August on the “conservative bias audit” conducted by Facebook found no evidence of (anti-)conservative bias.

      1. “I can find no reference to anything credible”

        I suspect “credible” is doing all the work here.

        Gizmodo: “Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News”

    3. Why do you hate freedom?

      Maybe rightwingers are censored more because they are more evil, violent, and cunty. Is that something you’re actually prepared to deny? Your own president is calling for the execution of his political opponents. He did that!

      1. Maybe rightwingers are censored more because they are more evil, violent, and cunty. Is that something you’re actually prepared to deny?

        You didn’t even read the summary, let alone listen to the interview, did you?

        1. I bet I’ve listened to more of Glenn Beck’s day-drunk insincere ranting and John Stossel’s baby talk than you have Rachel Maddow.

          1. I don’t pay attention to either one, so that’s probably true.

            But I’m gonna go ahead and take that as confirmation that no, you didn’t read the summary or listen to the interview.

            1. Of course he didn’t, otherwise he would have noted the ANTIFA portion. One might simply note real violence is usually considered worse than rhetorical violence.

      2. Your claim reminds me of the time when Candace Owens decided to take some tweets made about white people, but replace “white” with “black” or “Jew”. She got banned pretty much immediately.

        Yet the person whose tweets she was retweeting had been left unscathed.

        Yeah, go ahead and tell yourself that “rightwingers are censored more because they are more evil, violent, and cunty.”

        Or maybe, just maybe, social platforms really are coming down hard on conservative behavior that, at best deserves a raised eyebrow, while almost completely ignoring actual hate and violence from liberals.

    4. “Right now your right to start your own platform is only theoretical…”

      What do you mean by that? Pay Go-Daddy some money, and put up your own web site! I have done that for years! See http://www.churchofsqrls.com/ where I (among other things) make fun of Scientology, AND of the FDA… I am sure that there are many liberals at “The Google” who don’t like me doing that kind of “intolerant” stuff… Yet I do a “force Google crawl” on any new web pages that I set up, and my delightfully informative words show up under Google search strings! I am THE number one hit under a search for “scienfoology”!

      I think the bellyaching here is vastly over-stated… To say the least!

      (OK, agreed about the liberal bias there, to be fair, of course. But there’s always another way to skin a cat!)

      1. PS, for anyone curious about it… YES, Go-Daddy WILL allow you to remain anonymous, when you put up your web site!

        Also Amazon allows you to self-publish books… See https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US?ref_=kdpgp_p_us_psg_kw_ad127
        Anonymous? Yes, there, you can be anonymous as well! You can kindle-publish and you can hard-copy publish; they will print hardcopies per demand… Onesies and twosies even. I have several books there under my own real name, and one under a made-up name. I will say no more, since I treasure my anonymity.

        Anyway, self-publishing is cheap and easy these days! No sweat!

      2. Yes, you can put up your own website, and nobody is going to deplatform you unless you become famous.

        Try putting up a *platform* that doesn’t censor, and see if you have the same luck.

        1. Well, Reason.com is a full-bore “platform” that’s pretty wide-open and free-wheeling. As in, comments right here. I for one hope that Government Almighty doesn’t shit on them too terribly badly!

          On famous people, I’m no expert here, but it seems that the “Motor City Madman”, AKA Ted Nugent, is still getting his conservative message out there. Sure, I bet he lost some money and customers on the “lib” side…

          “Dixie Chicks” a while back were outspoken libs, and lost some conservative followers (and their money). Such is the free market…

          Neither Ted nor the Chicks had their essential liberties threatened, as far as I know…

          1. Reason is hardly a full bore platform, unless you’ve had more success posting articles and editorials to it than I have. It’s just a site with commenting.

            I guess your position is that deplatforming isn’t a real thing until it’s everybody on the right getting deplatformed?

            1. Well to be honest, I wasn’t aware of what is apparently FULLY meant by “deplatforming”… Like a site supports FREE blogging, and they yank your blog because they don’t like it? Yeah, it does kinda suck… I don’t like the bias… But it is FREE stuff from free-market providers.

              But I do stick to my guns that “there’s many ways to skin a cat”… I don’t do free blogging; I ***PAY*** Go-Daddy to host my web site! By paying, I am a lot more secure in my rights!

    5. “The entire debate is over whether they’re entitled to be so biased, and what consequences should properly attach to that bias.”

      Since the government can’t dictate what a private company does in that regard they are allowed to be that biased. However, I’ve been reading that lawmakers intend to do things about that. One idea is to keep CDA 230 intact, but treat the sites more like a media company. Throw in verified identity as well.
      ISP’s have CDA 230 protections and you can’t anonymously sign up and use their services. Why social media?
      A company doesn’t have to have free speech. If a billboard company doesn’t want to rent their spot to someone that wants to post racist or lewd messages they shouldn’t have to. Same with social media. However, if social media is going to take that position then they should be held liable for what they do allow. CDA 230 stops that from happening, but the billboard company is still liable. Identification is the key. If they’re going to ban Alex Jones for his opinions, but allow defamation from others then why should they be free from other issues? If removing misinformation is their goal then they’re failing because the majority of social media is gossip and defamation. Forcing identity verification stops foreign governments from using the platform anonymously to influence politics, stops the service from being used to transmit illegal content (Or at least identifies exactly who sent it), and allows people to identify and sue those that have used the platform to defame them. If all users are verified then the platform can remain free from liability and those that use it illegally can be identified. Also, if identity is visible then one’s desire to post hateful content or defamation may decrease dramatically.

      1. they should be held liable for what they do allow. CDA 230 stops that from happening

        How so?

        Forcing identity verification stops foreign governments from using the platform anonymously to influence politics

        Says the guy posting anonymously.

        1. Just because I’m posting anonymously now doesn’t mean it is required. If I’m required to verify my identity I just simply won’t post. Anonymity is not a requirement of free speech. Just because I’m taking advantage of something currently available doesn’t mean it is a necessity. Same with a social media site. Free speech isn’t even in the equation with those sites/companies.
          You can buy SquareEqualsCircle.com and use your right to free speech all you want. Post whatever you want. You own it.
          You can even allow others to post, share revenge porn, and then claim CDA 230 and you walk away unscathed. 230 is so open it can be abused like that. Just don’t charge people to have their content taken down and you’re good. That could be ruled to be extortion.

          “How so?”
          CDA 230 means if someone posts a naked image of an underage person on twitter and that image is online for an hour the company is free from being sued or charged with transmitting/hosting illegal content. If a billboard company rents their sign to someone that posts a naked image of an underage person and that image is only on the billboard for an hour before it gets covered/torn down the billboard company can be charged because they don’t have something like CDA 230.
          They can’t be held liable for users because of 230 so identifying users can curb a lot of that behavior. Since the platforms are moderating and blocking content that isn’t illegal then the law treating them like media companies may hold them liable while preserving CDA 230.
          What constitutes “social media” is a whole other issue. Comments sections? Message boards? Yelp reviews? Amazon reviews? Ebay listings?

          1. CDA 230 means if someone posts a naked image of an underage person on twitter and that image is online for an hour the company is free from being sued or charged with transmitting/hosting illegal content. If a billboard company rents their sign to someone that posts a naked image of an underage person and that image is only on the billboard for an hour before it gets covered/torn down the billboard company can be charged because they don’t have something like CDA 230.

            There is a crucial distinction between these two situations that make it perfectly reasonable to not prosecute Twitter for the content but to prosecute the billboard company. Because the image could not be posted onto the billboard without the billboard company’s active participation.

            To extend the analogy, if I go paste child pornography onto an existing billboard, the billboard company is not liable for it, even if it stays up for over an hour.

            And your points about anonymity are rather undercut by the Great Woodchipper Incident of a few years back, in which anonymous handles did not shield anyone from complaint.

            1. “There is a crucial distinction between these two situations that make it perfectly reasonable to not prosecute Twitter for the content but to prosecute the billboard company. Because the image could not be posted onto the billboard without the billboard company’s active participation.”

              I’m just repeating what lawmakers are saying. The distinction will change if the companies are viewed as media companies.

              The sites can have active participation and they choose not to. Let’s say the billboard company posts a copyrighted image. They can be sued. If it is a billboard company’s responsibility to preview content just like it is CNN’s then if social media sites are like media companies then it can be theirs too. They already block content if it contains certain words. One can easily argue they aren’t trying hard enough to block illegal content. The companies are somewhat in a bind.

              IIRC the work on this begins on Oct. 16th. The ideas I’ve heard are the media company, verifying users, and totally repealing, but expect something to happen. Most likely with how the companies are viewed. With this, the company may ask users to verify themselves. They may not be forced, but then that creates a hierarchy whereas users can block all non-verified users or no one takes anything you say with a grain of salt.
              I expect that to be the case which means purple-haired women that openly brag about their periods and abortions own the internet and those that talk about gassing the Jews are hidden.

              1. I’m just repeating what lawmakers are saying

                Sure, but lawmakers are often both ignorant and dishonest.

                If it is a billboard company’s responsibility to preview content just like it is CNN’s then if social media sites are like media companies then it can be theirs too.

                It’s not a “responsibility,” it’s a necessary precondition of their activity. It’s not possible for something to appear on the billboard, or on CNN, that the billboard company or CNN didn’t preview.

                Unless someone goes and puts up a picture on the billboard without telling the billboard company, or if someone hijacks CNNs bandwidth and broadcasts something without their permission.

                In neither case would the billboard company or CNN be held liable for that content.

                The difference with an internet platform is the ease with which people can post content (which is arguably the whole point). There is a grey area where it can be argued that content comes to be owned by the site due to its continued presence, and these cases get litigated despite CDA 230.

                CDA 230 heads off waves of litigation that would be looking for that line by doing what it can to define that line in advance, but I’ve never seen evidence that it’s quite as robust as either its critics or supporters claim.

      2. “Also, if identity is visible then one’s desire to post hateful content or defamation may decrease dramatically.”

        It seems you prefer to post pseudonymously. When I asked others here why they don’t use their real names, they say it’s out of fear of workplace reprisals. The fear of social isolation and loss of livelihood.

        1. “It seems you prefer to post pseudonymously. When I asked others here why they don’t use their real names, they say it’s out of fear of workplace reprisals. The fear of social isolation and loss of livelihood.”

          So because others have fear then anonymous posting on platforms not owned by them, paid for by a private company, and free from liability is required for free speech?
          Or is it just something you like to do to save yourself time and money and to get your message across to more? The guy on the sidewalk in front of a football stadium screaming about Jesus with a hockey mask on has that right. Giving him a megaphone isn’t part of it. He can provide his own. He’s anonymous too.
          If the government claims that in order to keep CDA 230 the site has to verify users then how is that a free speech issue at all? It’s not even saying that the info is displayed. It just means that someone can inquire and that info is given out. An IP address is useless today for identification. Domain registrar’s do the same thing. Your speech isn’t being stopped. You are free to host mtrueman.com, keep your registration for the domain private from whois searches, and post away anonymously all you want just like Homer Simpson did with his Mr. X website. Will you have the free amplification that the verified users on social media sites have? No, but that’s not a free speech issue. It’s like complaining that you have to have an account with an advertising firm to advertise using their service.

          1. “So because others have fear then anonymous posting on platforms not owned by them, paid for by a private company, and free from liability is required for free speech?”

            I’m not sure what you are trying to ask me here. But requiring an identity may not lead to freer speech, but it may lead to better speech, given the problems you outline with anonymous speech.

            1. I 100% agree it won’t lead to more “free” speech, but it’s not the job of a private company to do that nor should it be. Online free speech existed before CDA 230. If I own a company and people want to use my company in a way that makes me lose money then I should be able to remove them. I should also be able to use my company how I see fit which could mean banning the word “Trump”. While I don’t agree with Cloudflare’s service termination of TDS I don’t think they should be forced to do business with them. The site is still up too.
              I think the solution is in cutting down on anti-competitive practices. Not sure how that would happen.
              Aside from things like email, shopping, my credit card, and youtube videos I only use this news website and 1 other news site to post online. If I couldn’t do that I don’t I could make the argument that my speech was being hindered. I could make my own website and comment on Reason stories. Otherwise, we have to demand companies do things that they may not want to.
              Bake that cake.

              1. “Otherwise, we have to demand companies do things that they may not want to.
                Bake that cake.”

                Like paying taxes. I think there will be a publicly owned outfit that is obliged to publish without arbitrary unaccountable discrimination and where the identity of the participants is known. Or perhaps alternative software that offers a seamless transition from the googles and facebooks. I don’t think the answer lies in more lawsuits and court battles as some do.

    6. Eh, go talk to Gab or that other site Milo went to. No one goes there.

  5. Censorship is just as effective as prohibition.

    1. China seems to be going a pretty good job of both.

  6. It’s time to move libertarian thought away from “if you’re not the government, you can do whatever the f you want” — but only when it comes to institutions that exercise immense government-like power over our lives.

  7. “Glenn Beck, publisher of the major conservative outlet The Blaze, tells John Stossel that social media companies are biased against conservatives.”

    That’s old news.
    We all know the fascist pigs in Big Tech love to censor conservative speech.
    But it’s their right to do so.
    After all, it’s their sites, and they can determine what can and can’t be said on it.
    Just like I can say the Big Tech execs are just a big censors and totalitarians as Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Castro.

    1. It’s their right to do so, where they step over the line is in cooperating to quash any alternative to themselves, such as Gab.

  8. I expected better from Stossel. It’s not “censorship” when a private company declines to air your stuff. Only the government can censor. Private companies aren’t obligated under any rules–moral or legal–to promote or carry or “give a voice to” people and ideas they oppose. If Glenn Beck doesn’t like it he can band together with other like-minded people to create a conservative-friendly social media platform.

    1. “I expected better from Stossel.”

      Better than Glenn Beck? Roger Ailes, the guy behind FOX, called Beck the most talented personality on TV.

      “If Glenn Beck doesn’t like it he can band together with other like-minded people to create a conservative-friendly social media platform.”

      Isn’t that a waste of effort? Stossel promotes the use of Facebook and Twitter every time something of his appears in Reason. They obviously work fine for him.

      By the way, what happened to Reason’s support of Gab, the social media platform for Nazis? They used to link to the site when discussions of Facebook came up to show us the world of alternatives available for those who complained about Facebook. Now Reason has apparently withdrawn their promotion.

      1. Reason LOVES free speech but when it comes to Nazis they suddenly get cold feet!

        Guess it’s like cancel culture, just trying to shut people down.

    2. Beck is trying but he can’t run a business for shit. This is why he needs Youtube, free infrastructure he gets to glom onto, and gets their ad revenue. Basically he LOVES a nice socialist platform to use.

  9. I’d believe that our domestic Conservatives are sincere in their whining about Free Speech being under attack IF they also advocated for their Conservative competitors in ISIL/Daesh to also be allowed to use social media and/or recruit on college campuses without harassment.

    We should we give those in America who support a vile evil murderous pro pollution ideology a break, because White privilege?

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