Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress today over his company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. As he sat across US Senators and answered probing questions on how Facebook had let the personal information of 87 million people to be sold, prominent blogs live streamed the event, the press photographed his every move, and the the event was streamed to a worldwide audience.
That meant that there were plenty of memes to go around.
People couldn’t get over how basic some of the questions from US Senators were. Most politicians, typically, aren’t exactly in the same age bracket as Zuckerberg, and people couldn’t help but notice.
“Mr. Zuckerberg, a magazine i recently opened came with a floppy disk offering me 30 free hours of something called America On-Line. Is that the same as Facebook?” pic.twitter.com/U7pqpUhEhQ
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) April 10, 2018
zuckerberg: hello senator sir
senator: *lowers glasses, squints at phone* how can i tell if my granddaughter blocked me
— jaboukie young-white (@jaboukie) April 10, 2018
So the #Zuckerberg hearing ended up being less of a grilling and more of a social media tutorial for senior citizens.
— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) April 10, 2018
Even if the questions weren’t always the most probing (though some were), people felt that Zuckerberg was trying to weasel out of answering them. Zuckerberg often said he’d get his team to follow up to difficult questions, making some users wonder if he was trying to avoid responsibility.
Zuckerberg: “Actually, Facebook’s nothing to do with me. It’s those brothers who came up with it, the ones from The Social Network. You need to ask them.”
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) April 10, 2018
But some questions hit home. One senator asked Zuckerberg if he’d be comfortable telling everyone present which hotel he’d stayed in the night before. As Zuck stumbled before saying “No,” the senator said that that’s what having your privacy taken away from you felt like. Zing.
‘Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?’
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) April 10, 2018
And given how Zuckerberg was under the glare of cameras for more than 3 hours, things also got personal.
— Bill (@billdodgeusa) April 10, 2018
Zuckerberg using the savvy tactic of rocking a bowl cut in public. Automatic sympathy pic.twitter.com/vKlgbcBDxE
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) April 10, 2018
People also noted that he was sitting on some sort of cushion during the entire hearing, possibly in a bid to appear taller.
Zuckerberg takes his seat… on a 4-inch cushion. pic.twitter.com/ssp7IjF5MS
— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) April 10, 2018
People also began taking apart the defenses he was offering in real time.
#Zuckerberg: “You’re not allowed to have fake profiles on Facebook.”
— Nev Schulman (@NevSchulman) April 10, 2018
More seriously, someone took apart Zuckerberg’s claim that data deleted from Facebook gets deleted from its systems. They showed a snippet of Facebook code showing a “Deleted” field from within Facebook’s code, implying that Facebook doesn’t actually delete user data when it’s deleted, it just doesn’t show it to users any more.
— Max Schrems (@maxschrems) April 10, 2018
But ultimately, the whole hearing boiled down to this. As Zuckerberg repeatedly reminded the Senators, he’d founded Facebook when he was 19 and in his college dorm. To have to answer to the world about the product choices he’d made showed how surreal his journey had really been.
That face when you just wanted a faster way to rank girls by looks and ended up installing a fascist government in the most powerful country on earth pic.twitter.com/VEaQjz9Z6s
— Zack Bornstein (@ZackBornstein) April 10, 2018