Mark Zuckerberg explaining the Internet. Senators asking Stupid Questions

Mark Zuckerberg explaining the Internet. Senators asking Stupid Questions

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg waves to the audience during a meeting of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ceo Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo – RTSSDT2

Mark Zuckerberg entered the Senators’ meeting feeling tensed but came out happier than he anticipated.

The social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg was catechized by 44 senators at a joint hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committees on Tuesday April 3, 2017 about data privacy and Russian disinformation on Facebook that involved Kogan who allegedly collected data from 87 million Facebook users and shared it with the UK-based data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, aiding in misuse of data to assist the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Political journalist Brian Beutler exclaimed regarding the session.

“We’re about an hour in and Zuckerberg seems to realize he has the edge now, because these dinosaurs don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re supposed to be after”

The supposedly intense interrogation became a meme fest on various social platforms due to Mark Zuckerberg’s queer, rather robotic, behavior and Senators’ muddling questions hurled at the owner of Facebook. The questions were inconsistent and not related whereas, at other times, it revealed confusion and oblivion of the Senators regarding the platform.

For instance, is Facebook a monopoly? Do I have as many friends as I think I do? Is Facebook spying on the emails I send via WhatsApp? The questions thrown by the senators of both parties divulged at Mark Zuckerberg not only their oblivion but also their less knowledge about the method of operation of Facebook. With this, they included some colorful anecdotes about their own social media use, contributing to the mass laughter riot it ensued on various social media platforms.

The most highlighted question of the session came from 84-year-old Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah who inquired of Zuckerberg,

“How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”

Zuckerberg waited for a few moments before saying, “Senator, we run ads.” This reply was followed by some grins of Mark Zuckerberg and his staff. The world’s largest social network, Facebook generated nearly $13 billion in revenue during the last three months of 2017 that came from ads displayed to the site’s 2.2 billion users. Some of the Senators reinstated of what had been asked before like whether users discern the terms of service for the site and what information Facebook distributes to advertisers. Sen. Deb Fischer, a Republican from Nebraska, confused Zuckerberg with her line of questions, asking

“How many data categories do you store, does Facebook store, in the categories that you collect? How much? All of it? Everything we click on? Is that in storage somewhere?”

Zuckerberg accepted that Facebook does store data but evaded any further elaboration. Lindsey Graham, in confusion of Facebook’s difference from other platforms, asked Zuckerberg, Is Twitter the same as what you do? As a follow-up question, he inquired,

“If I buy a Ford and it doesn’t work well and I don’t like it, I can buy a Chevy, If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product that I can go sign up for?”

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, spent his time accusing Facebook of its propensity against conservatives. Do you consider yourself a neutral public forum, or are you engaged in political speech, which is your right under the First Amendment? He repeated this question again and again before listing some examples of conservative pages Facebook has blocked. Similarly, Sen. Dick Durbin suppressed the executive on privacy asking, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night? If you’ve messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?

The thing that surprised the most was that the senators associated with tech and related stuff like Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, asked that is it possible for Facebook to track what one user emails to another on WhatsApp? If you are wondering what’s strange in this question, WhatsApp is an encrypted messaging service which doesn’t use email and Facebook bought it in 2014. The five-hour long session where Mark Zuckerberg walked in afraid and timid, walked out of it happily because of the questions asked to him by the Senators which not only showed their lack of knowledge about Facebook and its working but also showcased their confusion and frivolity.

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