Mr Spock goes to Washington
Tech illiterate lawmakers struggle to crack Facebook’s code, which is good news for its market value
As Mark Zuckerberg faces a second day of “grilling” from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the verdict is already out: the uncharacteristically suit-clad tech mogul held his ground successfully.
Unsurprisingly, he had a leg up on his questioners, who struggled with the technical details.
“It was, to be blunt, like watching your grandfather try to understand how they got the internet onto your new Macbook Pro,” Chris Cilliza wrote for CNN. “Or asking Ted Williams about whether you put your right hand or left hand on top when you swing a bat.”
“Here’s one example — via an exchange between Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Zuckerberg:
“Hatch: ‘How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?’
“Zuckerberg: ‘Senator, we run ads.’
Facebook, as Shira Ovide said at Bloomberg, survived unscathed, but that doesn’t bode well for its users:
“The best news for Facebook Inc. the company was that Zuckerberg ably deflected any challenges to the beating heart of its economic model: its hungry data collection and the fine-tuned targeted advertising based on that data. Zuckerberg’s success is a win for anyone primarily concerned with the company’s market value. But it’s a loss for the rest of us.”
Some compared Zuckerberg’s performance in the hearing Tuesday to the emotionally incompetent Data from Star Trek the Next Generation:
Mark Zuckerberg’s manner has always reminded me of someone, but I could never quite grasp hold of it.
Just now it hit me, watching him testify about data. pic.twitter.com/4Zs2eGlsHD
— Matthew Teague (@MatthewTeague) April 10, 2018
In related news, Facebook is apparently losing ground to Google, as users spend more time on YouTube.
Google owned services, including YouTube and Waze, accounted for more than 27% of total time spent on digital media in January, up 3%, year over year, Bloomberg reports, citing data from Pivotal Research. Facebook’s share of time slipped 2% to 16.3%.