On April 10, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg had to undergo over four hours of grilling at the hands of 42 United States senators at Capitol Hill in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Private information of over 50 million Facebook users in the United States were allegedly harvested by the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, according to a whistleblower who spoke to Observer in March.
The April 10 joint session held before two Senate panels, the Commerce and the Judiciary committees, had Zuckerberg facing a volley of questions regarding where his company stood in regard to protecting users’ data.
The 33-year-old tech mogul with a net worth of around $64 billion had never been part of such a public interrogation procedure before Tuesday. From the moment Zuckerberg stepped in to Capitol Hill, Twitterati unleashed a barrage of memes, quips and videos, highlighting the significance of the occasion.
The 2010 film The Social Network, which portrayed Zuckerberg (played in the film by Jesse Eisenberg) as a socially awkward geek, has helped foster the technocrat’s image as a man wary of human interaction. Throughout Tuesday’s hearing, Zuckerberg answered a volley of questions without appearing flustered even once, resulting in Twitterati wondering if the Facebook CEO was, indeed, human.
One Twitter user compared Zuckerberg’s composure to the Star Trek character Data, an android known for its inability to experience human emotions and yet striving hard to find a connection with its human colleagues.
Even the official Twitter account of Getty Images did not miss a chance to make a Zuckerberg joke.
The internet did not even spare the supportive cushion that Zuckerberg had between himself and his chair at the hearing.
Even the person sitting behind Zuckerberg made it into a meme.
Some Twitter users could help but make fun of how young Zuckerberg was compared to the senators – whose average age was reportedly 62 – questioning him. Some of the memes implied that the senators were out of touch with the technology-related subjects that they attempted to discuss with Zuckerberg.
Meanwhile, cartoonists on Twitter also had a field day at the expense of the Zuckerberg hearing.