A Transcript from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meeting with GOP ‘Thought Leaders’
On May 18, Mark Zuckerberg met with a group of GOP leaders including The Blaze’s Glenn Beck, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Trump advisor Barry Bennett, and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint to discuss accusations from anonymous sources that Facebook has been censoring conservative publications and individuals in its Trending Topics module.
What proceeds is a highly plausible transcript from the meeting.
Mark Zuckerberg stands at the head of a long conference table in a tight gray t-shirt.
Zuckerberg: Hi everyone. Hi everyone. Welcome to the Facebook GOP Summit!
Pauses for applause. Trump advisor Barry Bennett is the only one to clap enthusiastically.
Zuckerberg: As you all know, the world can change dramatically in just 10 years. A decade ago, computing was primarily restricted to bulky laptops; high-quality live-streaming cost tens of thousands; Donald Trump was still a Democrat. But now let’s look ahead to the next 10 years. Artificial intelligence will power all kinds of different services with better than human level perception, and we’ll see the emergence of the next major computing platform in virtual and augmented reality…
Glenn Beck: Mr. Zuckerberg, we’re here to discuss a report that Facebook has been censoring conservative outlets and voices, not hear your stump speech.
Zuckerberg: My what?
Beck: Your stump speech. The monologue the world’s most gifted leaders are programmed to give every morning at precisely 11:15 a.m.
Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO): You do that every morning, Mark.
Beck: Let’s get straight to the matter at hand. This conservative oppression, Mr. Zuckerberg, just won’t stand. The people are tired. And we’ve been seeing this for years. Why the organic reach for my conservative media company, The Blaze, has been slowly reduced…
Dana Perino (Fox News): Us too!
Barry Bennett: Yeah, us too!
Zuckerberg: Well hold on, Facebook reach is very complicated and it’s not just you all who have seen your reach go down…
Carly Fiorina: You all?!
Beck: It’s called freedom of reach, Mr. Zuckerberg!
Jim DeMint: Freedom of reach!
Fiorina: You’re oppressing the American people!
Zuckerberg: I think you’re confused.
Beck: If Facebook is to be as ubiquitous as Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, it must remain as unbiased as the telephone.
Fiorina: My phone keeps asking me why the hell I thought it was a good idea to be Ted Cruz’s vice president.
Beck: That’s your Twitter notifications, Carly.
Zuckerberg: We don’t say that word here.
Sandberg: Social media reports are asking you why the hell you thought it was a good idea to be Ted Cruz’s vice president.
Zuckerberg: Right. I’d like to walk everyone through Facebook’s mission, which I think will address a lot of your concerns. I think you’ll see that these accusations go against everything we stand for. We stand for connecting every person and building a global community. But now, as I look around and travel around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward—against this idea of a connected world and a global community. I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as “others.”
It takes courage to choose hope over fear—to say that we can build something and make it better than it has ever been before.
Bennett: So you’re saying that you’re for the wall.
DeMint: Build that wall!
Beck: Everyone, this is silly. We’re all for the wall. That’s not up for debate.
Zuckerberg: Wait, no. I’m not for the wall.
Fiorina: Not for the wall?! This is exactly the type of thing we’re talking about. A clear antagonism toward simple, conservative principles.
Beck: A disregard for freedom.
Bennett: I mean, Little Marky. Can I call you Little Marky? Just come look at Donald’s Facebook page. Almost 8 million likes. But that last post? It only reached 200,000 fans! Pathetic.
Beck: And The Blaze! Almost 2 million fans. But our last post only reached 15,000 fans. The people want more of The Blaze, Mark. The people deserve better. Twitter and Snapchat don’t pull this crap.
Sandberg: Social media doesn’t pull this crap.
Zuckerberg: The algorithm is actually very sophisticated and takes into account what people want very well…
Beck: I will stand for any man’s right to be truly free and run his business the way he sees fit, but what you are doing is illegal and you should be burned at the stake.
DeMint: Freedom of reach!
Zuckerberg: Okay, okay, I hear your complaints. What if I gave you a super-secret weapon to reach as many people as you want? Up to 1.6 billion? Would that change your mind?
Fiorina: We’re listening.
Zuckerberg: Ok, so go to your Facebook page. Click that Boost Post button. You just reached 100,000 more people.
Fiorina: My HP iPod can’t do that!
DeMint: I like magic!
Beck: Well, this certainly changes a lot. GOP brethren, to the Blazer Cave!
The GOP leaders huddle by the coat rack at the far end of the room.
Beck: Mr. Zuckerberg, you have a deal!
The GOP leaders exit, shaking each other’s hands with deep satisfaction.
Sandberg: Are you going to tell them that their credit cards get charged every time they press that button?
Zuckerberg: Eh, the brands still haven’t figured it out. Why should they?Image by Shutterstock