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Zuckerberg speaks

11/04/2018

The video is from Bloomberg

Alexis Madrigal writes at The Atlantic on Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at a Senate hearing today – The article is entitled

Mark Zuckerberg Is Halfway to Scot-Free

In a confrontation of technological power with political power, the Senate could not grapple with the way Facebook works.

The headline largely encapsulates the issue

Madrigal went on:

Mark Zuckerberg finally walked into Congress today in a suit and Facebook-blue tie. He sat alone in a chair, behind a brown wooden desk, backed by a short-row of Facebook lawyers, and facing a U of nearly half the Senate, a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

And as the first day of the hearings came to a close, not one Senator had landed a good punch on the CEO of Facebook. It felt as if most of the chamber was asking, in one way or another, “What even is Facebook?”

As Madrigal noted:

But, by and large, we didn’t witness grandstanding, so much as floundering. In this confrontation of technological power with political power, the Senate did not seem able to truly grapple with the way Facebook works or what to ask to extract new information from the company’s CEO. Their knowledge of the company’s history and technological capabilities are too limited. Even if their staffers delivered good starting questions, they couldn’t push Zuckerberg with difficult follow-ups.

Clearly there is much more to be learned, but this hearing got nowhere near it, as the article finishes:

There are still so many questions for Zuckerberg to answer, and based on today’s proceedings, there still will be, long after the hearings are over.

The Senate is not the forum, at least not in the format followed.

Other commentators think differently, but overall Zuckerberg probably came off pretty well.

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