Mark Zuckerberg is apparently as reckless with his own information as his company is with your data. The founder and CEO of Facebook left his notes open during a break in his marathon hearing before Congress and allowed an Associated Press photographer to snap a picture of the talking points.
Zuckerberg dipped into responses laid out in the notes a number of times during his testimony before the joint session of the US Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, but more interesting were the bullet points he didn’t get to, including a response to potential calls to resign and a nationalistic response to the suggestion that Facebook should be broken up.
— Stefan Becket (@becket) April 10, 2018
Most of Zuckerberg’s notes were in relation to Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that got its hands on the data of more than 87 million Facebook users through nefarious but legal means. He arrived ready to walk senators through the controversy, how the data was acquired, and what steps Facebook has taken to prevent it from happening again.
One section of Zuckerberg’s notes addressed compensation, which suggests the Facebook CEO expected senators may raise the idea of a fine against Facebook. None of the notes actually addressed such a possibility, but offered him the ability to deflect such a line of questioning. “No credit card information or [Social Security numbers] shared,” one note read.
Zuckerberg also was ready with a response if any senator suggested that he resign. “Founded Facebook. My decisions. I made mistakes,” the notes read. “Big challenge, but we’ve solved problems before, going to solve this one. Already taking action.”
If the prospect of “breaking up” Facebook came up, presumably to make the company split its many businesses, Zuckerberg planned to respond by suggesting such regulation would be bad for the country. “US tech companies key asset for America; break up strengthens Chinese companies.”
Zuckerberg clearly came prepared for his sessions with Congress. In addition to the notes, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reported that Zuckerberg took part in four full mock hearings in preparation for his appearances. He also took the extra step of sitting on a cushion so he’d appear big and tall for the cameras.
Facebook’s chief executive is testifying again today, this time in front of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives. Between the leaked notes and his written testimony, there likely isn’t much new information to squeeze out of Zuckerberg, but don’t let that stop you from watching him squirm.