Presented by Hannah Kuchler. Edited by Paolo Pascual. Footage from Reuters.
- for a hearing in the United States Senate. We will do our best -
So Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, has just finished testifying in front of Congress, where he was grilled by 42 senators for five hours. He more or less pulled it off. He managed to avoid being asked whether he was going to resign. He managed to avoid committing to regulation that he hadn't already agreed to. And he ducked questions about Facebook's business model.
He wasn't brilliant at explaining the technicalities, part of which is understandable, because the senators often had quite confused questions, showing their lack of understanding, and part of which was probably trying to get out of some of the core questions surrounding the data. Politically, he was trying to balance being seen as the CEO of one of the largest companies and most influential companies in the world, which he is, while also telling the story a little bit of his dorm room days and having grown the company to appeal to the senators.
Interestingly, he also referred to competition from China a couple of times, which is not something he brings up often but was perhaps designed to make senators feel like they shouldn't be bashing their own homegrown tech industry if it faces competition from elsewhere. Democrats seemed more interested in pushing him a little bit harder and going for regulation a little bit harder, whereas Republicans were concerned that if there was regulation on social media platforms, it would stop a new Facebook, like another Facebook in a dorm room somewhere, from ever growing. Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times, San Francisco.