Mark Zuckerberg explained the internet to elderly senators and now there's a meme

Mimi Launder
Wednesday 11 April 2018 14:45
news

As Mark Zuckerberg got down to the serious business of defending his scandal-ridden social media behemoth, the internet nobly took it upon itself to create memes upon memes.

Senators quizzed Zuckerberg in a marathon five-hour hearing in an attempt to understand how Facebook had inadvertently let information about up to 87 million people fall into the hands of data-miners Cambridge Analtyica.

Whenever the people of the internet weren't philosophising over the slippery moral balancing act of digital privacy (i.e. most of the time), they noticed that the senators were almost exclusively pretty old - and, alarmingly, that they had no idea how Facebook worked.

Zuckerberg was peppered with basic questions clogging up hours of testimony and, with each senators only allowed five minutes to ask questions, there was not much time for worthy follow-ups. Largely, the Facebook boss was repeatedly asked to qualify established facts: How does Facebook get data? And even, can Facebook see emails sent over Whatsapp?

In a question quickly gaining notoriety, Zuckerberg was asked how Facebook can "sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?".

"Senator, we run ads," was Zuckerberg's response.

The senators - who had an average of 62, according to Vox - were mercilessly mocked for having the power to regulate technology, but not understanding technology. At all.

Zuckerberg may have emerged unscathed from the Senate committee hearing, but not all senators acted as if they were confused elderly relatives.

Washington Democrat Cantwell, who has a background as a tech executive, incisively opened with a question about Palantir, a data analysis firm connected to Cambridge Analytica that Facebook board member Peter Thiel co-founded and is chairman of.

Illinois' Dick Durbin asked Zuckerberg if he would be comfortable with sharing the name of the hotel he stayed in last night. When Zuckerberg replied "no", Durbin said: "I think that may be what this is all about. Your right to privacy."

California's Kamala Harris pressed Zuckerberg on Facebook's failure to explain how extensively the social media giant tracks user activity beyond company-owned platforms and why the company did not inform users in 2015 that their data had been shared with Cambridge Analytica.

More: Quitting Facebook decreases stress levels, study shows

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