In what will probably be the premise of The Social Network 2,Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by members of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg answered questions about digital privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. And a lot of the senators asking the questions were old. Very old.
Mark Zuckerberg is now living out every young person’s worst nightmare: trying to explain how tech stuff works to the nation’s elderly
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) April 10, 2018
Sen. Patrick Leahy brought printouts of various Facebook groups (bless the staff member who had to print them) and asked if they were Russian propaganda groups, because as CEO, Zuckerberg obviously reads every single post on Facebook himself. Sen. Orrin Hatch asked how Facebook is able to sustain a business model while running as a free service, and Zuckerberg was barely able to keep a straight face when he responded, “Senator, we run ads.”
“I see, that’s great,” Hatch replied.
“Senator, we run ads” is my new T-shirt.
— drew olanoff (@yoda) April 10, 2018
It wasn’t just the older senators who didn’t understand how Facebook works. Sen. Brian Schatz, who is only 45 years old, asked Zuckerberg if Facebook would be able to see if he “emailed” someone over Whatsapp. When Zuckerberg said that Whatsapp is encrypted, and that other companies are not able to read encrypted messages, Schatz asked if he would get Black Panther ads on Facebook if he messaged someone about the movie through Whatsapp.
Sen. Schatz: If I email(?) someone over Whatsapp, can facebook see that?
Zuck: Senator no, Whatsapp is encrypted, we can’t see any of that.
Schatz: Yeah but if I message someone about Black Panther on Whatsapp will I get adds about Black Panther On Facebook?
— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) April 10, 2018
People on Twitter found it pretty ridiculous that the lawmakers who have the power to regulate technology have absolutely no idea how technology works. And so they roasted them with memes.
In the “Mr. Zuckerberg” meme, clueless lawmakers use the Senate hearing to ask Zuckerberg questions about Facebook. Instead of interrogating the CEO about his company’s business practices, though, they ask him for tech advice.
CHUCK GRASSLEY: Mr. Zuckerberg. My question for you is this. I sent a picture to my grandson of one of the little yellow fellas from the Minions movie and he did not respond. Did my message go through? Why wouldn’t he respond. It’s a funny image
— Klimt Eastwood 🌹 (@Danny_Parisi_) April 10, 2018
They’re usually accompanied by an image of an exasperated, exhausted Zuckerberg.
mr. zuckerberg i want to direct your attention to the video “tom cruise kills oprah — extended version.” it’s got tom cruise jumpin’ around on oprah’s couch and shootin’ lightning bolts and things, and i’m very troubled by that
— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) April 10, 2018
ZUCKERBERG: im ready to answer any questions u might have about facebook
84-YEAR-OLD SENATOR: excellent. mr zuckerberg my farmville farm needs more pigs but i cannot figure out where to purchase them
— Bob Vulfov (@bobvulfov) April 10, 2018
And people didn’t hold back on Sen. Ted Cruz, who’s had his fair share of PR nightmares while in office.
While the memes covered Cruz’s “accidental” porn like and the rumors of his secret identity as the Zodiac Killer, others were just sad.
Mr. Zuckerberg, can you explain to me why you’ve made it so married couples are unable to be Facebook friends? In the past 10 years, my wife has not accepted any of my friend requests, and she tells me that it’s because Facebook doesn’t allow it. pic.twitter.com/QU3XsHhYd8
— Billy LXIX (@Your_Pal_Billy) April 10, 2018
Zuckerberg faces another day of questioning in front of the House Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
And that means another day of explaining how Facebook works to septuagenarian lawmakers. Good luck, Mark.