It was awkward. Funny. Occasionally tense. Sort of dramatic. Then awkward again.
I’m talking of course about the marathon hot-seat session that Mark Zuckerberg sat through in front of 44 Senators yesterday.
It was almost as entertaining as the movie about Facebook, The Social Network. Except it was twice as long, with worse lighting and way more elderly people. Oh, and no Winklevoss twins. Speaking of those guys, they must’ve been laughing it up and toasting to the fact they have all the dough, with none of the hassle.
There are a lot of discussion points after a four-hour Senate committee hearing. Like how much of it felt like a social media tutorial for senior citizens.
Or that Senator Durbin made probably the first decent point he’s made in his entire Senate career, when he asked Zuckerberg whether he’d like to share the name of the hotel he stayed in last night as a way of demonstrating Facebook’s failure to protect users’ privacy.
Then there was the grilling by Ted Cruz in which he listed examples of conservative content censored by Facebook. Zuckerberg didn’t deny Cruz’s allegation and claimed ignorance about whether Planned Parenthood ads were similarly censored.
But perhaps the most revealing moment of the whole four-hour session came when Republican Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska began his questioning with a tip of his hat to Zuckerberg, the young man who went from tinkering in his Harvard dorm room to building one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Sullivan was marveling at Facebook as an example of the ultimate American dream. But Zuckerberg refused to agree with Sullivan’s “only in America” sentiment.
An utter lack of gratitude and humility.
Zuckerberg couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge the nation he was born into and the large role it played in making him a billionaire. He also felt the need to toss a bone to communist China. This trend, especially among the younger generation of leftist Americans, to blush at the idea that America might be the greatest nation on earth, is disturbing and, frankly, arrogant. Arrogant because it demonstrates an utter lack of gratitude and humility.
As Zuckerberg squirmed under the spotlight, I wonder if any part of him wanted to slink out of that room, crawl into a time machine, and travel back to 2003 to stop his young, naïve Harvard self from ever creating Facebook.
Life would just be a bit simpler that way.