Mark Zuckerberg Congressional Hearings

Mark Zuckerberg Congressional Hearings

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Updated Mar 10, 2019 at 09:58AM EDT by Y F.

Added Apr 11, 2018 at 10:36AM EDT by Don.

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Overview

Mark Zuckerberg Congressional Hearing refers to testimony delivered by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in early April 2018 before the United States Congress. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss how personal data collected by Facebook was used by the data mining and analysis firm Cambridge Analytica.

Background

On April 10th, 2018, Zuckerberg appeared before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to answer questions regarding Facebook's collection of users personal data in light of the Cambridge Analytics data breach (shown below). During the hearing, the Facebook CEO responded that he did not consider the social network to be a monopoly but agreed that some regulations may be necessary to protect user privacy. Additionally, Zuckerberg claimed he would follow up on various questions regarding Facebook's practices, including which apps they had banned, if the site collects cell phone and text history of teenagers, or collects user data through cross-device tracking.



Developments

Online Reaction

That day, Twitter user @MikeTokes tweeted a GIF of Zuckerberg at the hearing smiling after a "smile" slider is moved to the right (shown below). Within 24 hours, the tweet garnered more than 16,000 likes and 7,300 retweets.




Meanwhile, comedian Zack Bornstein tweeted a photograph of Zuckerberg at the hearing along with the description "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" (shown below). Within one day, the tweet garnered upwards of 264,000 likes and 90,

On April 11th, Redditor Dr_Jre uploaded an edited clip Zuckerberg drinking from a glass of water along with a code overlaid to make it appear as if Zuckerberg was a robot running a program (shown below). Within three hours, the post gained over 3,100 points (99% upvoted) and 50 comments on /r/dankmemes.[1]


[OC] Zuckerborg.drink()

Also on April 11th, various photos of Zuckerberg from the hearing were used in various image macros submitted to /r/me_irl[2] and /r/dankmemes,[3][4] many of which portrayed him as a robot or alien pretending to be human (shown below).


Yummy Yummy, Thank you human supreme Court for this lovely meal When u realize that u being too nervous in public, so u have ur "emotion chip" removed

Camera Swarm Photograph

Meanwhile, a photograph of Zuckerberg surrounded by photographs was widely captioned with jokes on Twitter (shown below).


gonna have to untag a lot of photos PBS NEWS HOUR Facebook's privacy policy in real life me me me meyei me me me me me me me me et me me me meme me me my cat yawning me me me me me me

House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing

On April 11th, Zuckerberg appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee (shown below).



FaceMash Questioning

During the hearing, Rep. Billy Long asked, "What was FaceMash, and is it still up and running?" FaceMash was predecessor to Facebook, operating as a Hot or Not for Harvard students that was created with Zuckerberg scraping information from the Harvard website and posting pictures of students without their consent.

Zuckerberg responded, "No, congressman. FaceMash was a prank website that I launched in college, in my dorm room, before I started Facebook."

"You put up two pictures of two women and decided which one was the better, more attractive of the two, is that right?" asked Long.

Zuckerberg refuted the connection between Facebook and FaceMash, stating:

"Congressman, Facemash was a prank website that I launched in college in my dorm room before I started facebook. There was a movie about this, or it said it was about this. It was unclear truth. And the claim that Facemash was somehow connected to the development of Facebook -- it isn’t. It wasn’t --"



Some online interpreted this line of questioning as a direct connection between the allegations that Facebook mishandles users data and the stealing of data in the case of FaceMash. Gizmodo[5] wrote:

"Zuckerberg’s response is also a bit of “unclear truth.” Facemash was arguably a precursor to Facebook. If nothing else it planted seeds for what the social network would become in so many respects. The site was a way for Harvard students to rank whether their peers were hot or not, foreshadowing the debasement and humiliation we’d all feel as social media found its footing. As Wired recently pointed out, the site was created by 'nonconsensually scraping pictures of students at Harvard from the school’s intranet.' Disregard for privacy and intellectual property? Check and check. It was massively popular on campus despite the misgivings that many students had about it. And it all came to an end with the first Mark Zuckerberg public apology.

Others made jokes about FaceMash, reacting to the surprise that it was brought up in the hearing, using the "hot or not" format for humorous effect (examples below).


facemash 2.0 Bill **FACEMASH*** Who's hotter? Click to choose. Please tell me more about Facemash OUSE.GOVCOMMERCE PBS EWS OUR Mr. Zuckerberg

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