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Congress Asked Mark Zuckerberg a Bunch of Really, Really Stupid Questions at the Libra Hearing

Another show trial for Facebook's beleaguered CEO

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. The hearing was supposed to be about his planned cryptocurrency, Libra, but the proceedings frequently felt like a show trial for Facebook's beleaguered CEO, who was repeatedly asked loaded gotcha questions.

"Have you learned that you should not lie?" asked Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–N.Y.). It was a surprise she didn't add: And have you stopped beating your wife?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) attacked Zuckerberg for allowing misleading political ads to appear on Facebook, something that has increasingly irritated high-profile Democrats as of late—most notably regulation-obsessed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), who recently warned that "Facebook is actively helping Trump spread lies and misinformation. Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. They might do it again—and profit off of it."

"I'm not talking about spin, I'm talking about actual disinformation," said Ocasio-Cortez, as if these are two things that Facebook content moderators could both easily distinguish and police in a fair and unbiased way.

Zuckerberg responded that he believed "in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians which they may or may not vote for are saying, and judge their character for themselves." Ocasio-Cortez then pivoted to interrogating him about his "ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures, some of whom advance the conspiracy theory that white supremacy is a hoax."

The idea that Facebook's misleading political ads are any more threatening to democracy than the hours of ideological, agenda-driven advocacy for one party or another that appear on television and the radio every day is a kind of moral panic. Social media is certainly the newer phenomenon, and that has made it the object of hatred for legislators who reflexively fear something they don't understand and can't control.

Many Republicans were also inclined to meddle in Facebook's affairs. Rep. Bill Posey (R–Fla.) criticized Zuckerberg for policing anti-vaxxer content. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R–N.C.), the committee's ranking Republican, said he had "qualms" about Facebook's practices, though he did not wish to side against "American innovation."

But some of the most absurd questions came from Reps. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.) and Al Green (D–Texas), who went after the CEO for not doing more to promote diversity. Green asked how many of the people working on the Libra project were members of the LGBTQ+ community, raising the question of whether Congress expected Zuckerberg to interrogate his employees regarding their sexuality.

Waters urged Zuckerberg to hit pause on Libra, saying: "As I have examined Facebook's various problems, I have come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for all if Facebook concentrates on addressing its many existing deficiencies and failures before proceeding any further on the Libra project." One could have forgiven Zuckerberg if he'd curtly reminded the representative that Facebook is his company, not hers.

NEXT: Facebook's Plans To Spend $1 Billion on Housing Development Is a Drop in the Bucket

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121 responses to “Congress Asked Mark Zuckerberg a Bunch of Really, Really Stupid Questions at the Libra Hearing

  1. I’m not talking about spin, I’m talking about actual disinformation,” said Ocasio-Cortez,

    I … I can’t even.

    1. Neither can she.

      1. Room-temperature IQ. In Celsius.

    2. As she croaked in her nails-on-chalkboard sounding vocal fry.

    3. “Ocasio-Cortez then pivoted to interrogating him about his ‘ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures, some of whom advance the conspiracy theory that white supremacy is a hoax.'”

      OK, AOC is telling us whites are supreme. What a racist.

      1. There is some pretty good deliberate misunderstanding of the claims made about white supremacy from more right leaning commentators (though I thought Carlson articulated it poorly when he got into trouble over it). No one is saying that there aren’t any white supremacists in the US or that they don’t occasionally do bad things. The “hoax” is the narrative being pushed that white racism is on the rise and is a significant threat we should be worried about.

        1. Who are you and what have you done with the real Zeb?

    4. Per usual, the content is edited for dramatic effect.
      AOC, for perhaps the first time that I’ve ever seen, actually made some sense when she asked, “Could I pay to target predominantly black zip codes and advertise them the incorrect election date?” [Ah! So you DO “fact check”?] “Could I target Republicans saying they voted for the Green New Deal”? [So you DON’T fact check?]

      The point is that Facebook is giving MORE speech to politicians than to ordinary people who are “fact-checked” by partisans on a regular basis.

      And Zuckerberg didn’t have a straight answer for any of it.

      The way you shut up tired old bats like Maxine Waters on “diversity” is by saying, “We have a minimum standard entrance IQ test. Anyone who doesn’t score at least 125 is not hired. We apply this rule uniformly. It is not our responsibility to try to find queer niggers in the middle of sex change operations who can meet those standards.”

  2. Facebook is his company, not hers

    I’ll bet she directly or indirectly owns FB stock, so I guess they both own it.

    1. I don’t imagine she bothers to vote her proxies, though.

  3. Ocasio-Cortez then pivoted to interrogating him about his “ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures, some of whom advance the conspiracy theory that white supremacy is a hoax.”

    So she’s saying that white supremacy is not a hoax? I’m a little surprised she’d admit that. Wait, are Puerto Ricans considered white?

    1. Only when they shoot a black kid.

    2. She may be saying the idea that white supremacy is a minor issue in America, driven by kooks on some web sites, is the hoax, because it doesn’t fit with their narrative Trump and his 60 million voters are all white supremecists, obviously a major league problem voting for her will solve.

      1. The attempted modern-day lynching of Jussie Smollett proves white supremacy is certainly no hoax.

        #IBelieveJussie

        1. #ClaytonBigsbyIsRight

          1. I heard he divorced his wife.

        2. Jussie had the unmitigated gall for blaming the city of Chicago for spending $1.3M to try to find his mythical attacker. Fortunately the federal court refused to dismiss the city’s case against him.

        3. Should have lynched him with the rope he already had around his neck.

      2. Let’s get one thing straight: If you live in America, White Men of European Descent (WMED) created your world. Women didn’t do it. Blacks didn’t do it. Hispanics didn’t do it. Practically everything you touch every single day was invented, designed, created, built and manufactured by WMED. These days, a lot of that last step takes place overseas – but the rest of it still is primarily carried out by WMED.
        So how do you thank WMED for building your world? Do you do it by whining about “white male privilege”? If so, maybe you should just give up the things that WMEDs created. Let’s narrow it down for you: Don’t use electricity. That alone will move most of you into the stone age. Don’t use most medicines or pasteurize (sterilize) anything. That should knock about 50 years off your life expectancy. No refrigeration. If you want to grow your own food, be sure not to use any manufactured fertilizers.
        Getting the picture yet?
        And rights? You’ve got no rights. The Constitution was created by… WMEDs. Exercise the “rights” you would have if you lived in Zimbabwe or Iran.
        You owe the majority of your LIFE to WMEDs.
        So if you’re whining about “white supremacy” – you might want to just shut up.

        And yes, I do recognize the “supremacy” of whites – not just whites, but specifically White MALES. If you don’t like it, don’t use a computer to complain – pretty much every part was created by a WMED.

    3. I wonder who the far right figures are…Jerry Brown?

      1. …Gavin Newsom?

        1. You joke, but I know people who consider Gavin “right wing.”

          1. I don’t think it was you, but someone else from the SF area was saying a while ago that in California politics, people like Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer (and Newsom too, I guess) are actually the sensible centrist candidates (relatively speaking) who the radical lefties hate.

    4. I would have given Zuckerberg credit if he answered, “Would you prefer if I had ongoing dinner parties with far-left figures who advance the conspiracy theory that Nancy Pelosi is a racist and that the New York Times runs white supremacist headlines?”

    5. Wait, are Puerto Ricans considered white?

      I think the black ones probably aren’t.

  4. Waters urged Zuckerberg to hit pause on Libra, .., One could have forgiven Zuckerberg if he’d curtly reminded the senator that Facebook is his company, not hers.

    Sen. Maxine Waters of CA? Scary thought, but not impossible, I guess.

  5. “But some of the most absurd questions came from Reps. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.) and Al Green (D–Texas)”
    This kind of goes without saying doesn’t it?

    1. As a resident of her district, I’m amazed that Waters was able to verbalize a thought that was unrelated to impeaching Trump.

      It’s wierd that now that she’s chosen to quit her narrow focus on that one thought now that it might have some possibility of becoming a reality; but then maybe that’s what has her trying to create some mental separation from it at all.

      1. I don’t think they really wanted it to be a reality. Much better as an issue to rile up the base than as something you actually have to deal with and have your name attached to forever.

        1. See: Republicans and repealing Obamacare, which had much more support among GOP congressmen when repeal had zero chance of happening.

  6. “Green asked how many of the people working on the Libra project were members of the LGBTQ+ community”

    Actually that’s a perfectly relevant question. Green is operating under the same logic we open borders advocates employ to advance our immigration agenda — diversity is an inherently good thing.

    #DiversityAboveAll

    1. “I believe at least twenty times the number working for you.”

    2. Diversity is a good thing, but in order to give a meaningful answer to that, they’d have to be keeping track of that kind of information on their employees, and there’s nothing about it that’s relevant to their work (at least I’m assuming that to be the case).

      I work at a federal contractor, and the decree by Obama that all such operations would be prohibited from discrimination on those grounds led to a really odd need for my employer to request that as many employees as were willing to enter their gender identity and sexual orientation into a newly created database. There’s no way for an employer to actively address any possible discrimination issues without knowing that kind of information, but there’d also previously been no reason for anyone at the company to need to know such things about employees who are doing engineering, clerical and manufacturing work.

      1. “Diversity is a good thing”

        Is it? I don’t think it’s a bad thing, and there’s lots of times in my life where having a diverse group of people has been beneficial. There’s also been a lot of times where diversity has been a detriment.

        Why is diversity inherently good?

        1. The irony in the “diversity” discussion is that diversity of thinking is usually a very useful thing, but most of the champions of “diversity” seem to be more interested in just having the same dogma spouting from faces of multiple different shades. Without diversity of thought, there’s minimal benefit to other kinds of “diversity” being created for their own sake.

          The benefit of drawing from diverse backgrounds is that if it’s done without putting everyone through any kind of indoctrination or “re-education”, those diverse backgrounds will tend to provide a diversity of thinking and perspectives in a problem-solving environment, and that increases the probability that someone will see a better solution to whatever is being addressed.

          1. Team Blue also suffers from a distinct lack of geographic diversity, which is why they lost the Presidency in 2016.

      2. Back when I was foolish enough to be a manager, we were required to track ethnicity for EOE reporting, but prohibited from asking the employee. (“What are you, Hispanic?”) Instead, we were supposed to do a “visual survey”. (“He looks Hispanic to me … or is he south Asian?”) Yeah, that was better.

        1. I heard that back in the early days of “affirmative action” (Carter era), the feds first prohibited employers from asking for ethnicity in the application process, then instituted hiring quotas based on information that it was illegal for the people doing the hiring to ask about.

          That sort of thing is just government being government. I’d wonder if the plan is really just to make sure that everyone can be charged with something at any time, but I don’t think most pols are capable of thinking that far ahead.

          1. “but I don’t think most pols are capable of thinking.”

            FTFY

  7. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.) and Al Green (D–Texas), who went after the CEO for not doing more to promote diversity.

    “With all due respect, Congresscreature, I’m talking to *you*, am I not?”

    1. ““With all due respect, Congresscreature, I’m talking to *you*, am I not?””

      Rep Waters: That is very disrespectful.

      Zuckerburg: Well, I did say all DUE respect, didn’t I? I can talk slower if you need.

  8. Someone with more constitutional knowledge than me tell me if (and how) congress can call any US citizens before them for a show trial? I know they have oversight over the executive branch, but do they really have the authority to call anyone before them and belittle them?

    1. Only if you want to placate them while you go about your own business.

    2. There’s nothing in the constitution that gives them this power. Also, the only reason they have subpoena power (a separate issue) is because the SC gave it to them in the early 1800s.

      1. It’d be pretty hard for them to do the job they’re supposed to be doing (executive oversight) without the ability to drag the assholes into congress and make them answer pointed questions. If only they actually used it for anything worthwhile.

        As far as private citizens go, they don’t have the power to subpoena you, but it’s generally a bad idea for the CEO of a big business they’re sharpening their antitrust knives for to ignore the request.

  9. Judge Judy: Michael Bloomberg’s no-nonsense approach can help us heal

    “a man who has shown time and again that he knows how to get things done and cares more about results than ideology.

    Well, laughter *is* the best medicine!

    1. I always wonder if a politician who says they don’t have an ideology and they are a pragmatist is so naive to believe themselves or if they’re just craven. Can it be both?

      1. Perhaps they hope to rely more on a personality cult than on a well-articulated philosophy?

        Not everyone has the personality to pull off a personality cult.

        1. “Not everyone has the personality to pull off a personality cult.”

          True, but a lot of politicians are arrogant enough to think they can.

  10. First he calls out a logical fallacy
    It was a surprise she didn’t add: And have you stopped beating your wife?

    Then he engages in the exact same logical fallacy:
    The idea that Facebook’s misleading political ads are any more threatening to democracy than the hours of ideological, agenda-driven advocacy for one party or another that appear on television and the radio every day is a kind of moral panic.

    1) Political ads are hosted by Facebook, but they are created by 3rd parties. Why would they be ‘Facebook’s misleading political ads’?
    2) Where has it ever been established that one of these political ads actually mislead anyone?

    1. “2) Where has it ever been established that one of these political ads actually mislead anyone?”

      Pretty sure Tony is convinced they mislead enough people to get Trump elected, but then that’s Tony.

      1. I’m pretty sure lots of somethings has misled Tony, and political adds are probably among them.

        1. He must’ve unwittingly voted for Trump…

          1. He probably voted for Jesse Jackson.

            1. No, he voted for either Janet Jackson or Michel Jackson.

                1. Did Reggie Jackson use an old hickory bat?

    2. “1) Political ads are hosted by Facebook, but they are created by 3rd parties. Why would they be ‘Facebook’s misleading political ads’?”

      The ads are more than hosted. They also pass through Facebook’s filters, giving them a stamp of corporate approval. Successful political ads often mislead voters.

        1. Sorry, I should’ve made myself clearer. Democratic ads mislead voters. Republican ads are on the straight and narrow. Thank you for giving me the chance to make this important partisan point.

          1. Tony has company twice.

            1. Tony owes me two inane responses.

  11. Does anyone here think the congress-critters were actually trying to learn anything?

    1. Actually, without actually watching it all, there may be some. But they aren’t the ones who make it on the news.

    2. They want to learn how it played on the news and if the coverage featured their most DEVASTATING questions.

    3. “Does anyone here think the congress-critters were actually trying to learn anything?”

      They’re trying to take a census of just HOW MANY sound-bite-believing gullible morons there are out there in modern America, fully willing to swallow bullshit (self-righteous self-primping and self-preening) from Congress!

      So technically, yes…

      1. Yes, all these bullshitters in the GOP complaining about how Twitter and FB bans assholes and racists should get fucked.

        1. You were banned here. Knowing your predilections I won’t tell you to get fucked. It’s for the children.

          1. Pretty sure that’s the fucking lefty ignoramus who used to post here as ‘American Socialist’, not turd.
            He’s a scumbag who still thinks Lenin and Stalin were neat guys who were just misunderstood and who brags about skipping on his mortgage, leaving the honest borrowers to cover his slimy ass.
            The world is so unjust; scumbag is always the victim and his mommy told him he was ‘special!’
            Hey, scumbag?Given that you’re a fucking lefty ignoramus, it’ll be that way until they plug you in the ground and I’m LAUGHING!

        2. So you didn’t read the article or the testimony?

          1. You’re presuming turd there can read, how literateist of you.

    4. I don’t think they are capable of learning anything, even if they did try.

  12. “But some of the most absurd questions came from Reps. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.) and Al Green (D–Texas), who went after the CEO for not adding more emojis to be included in posts. Green asked if Libra would work in the vending machine out in the hallway and if he can use it to purchase gay porn without anyone knowing.

    Waters urged Zuckerberg to hit pause on Libra, saying: “I still haven’t learned to use my phone and I accidentally send crotch shots to family members. New money is just as scary to me as black cats and fire. If I leave my phone on the bus does that mean I left all of my Libra on the bus?”

    1. “Green asked if Libra would work in the vending machine out in the hallway and if he can use it to purchase gay porn without anyone knowing.”

      Why are these absurd questions? I’m assuming there’s a super fancy vending machine there, but it comes down to how convenient it is to use, and also how private your transactions will be. Two far from absurd issues.

      1. We already know it isn’t going to be more private than credit card purchases. I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook is going to track all purchases to then give you advertisements or sell that info. By Facebook providing the currency you know their incentive is to see what you buy because they can’t see what someone uses cash or their credit card for. That’s a big hole they’d like to fill. (Kind of like what happens in gay porn.)

  13. Some people tell lies using Facebook… GOVERNMENT ALMIGHTY NEEDS TO MICRO-MANAGE THE SNOT OUT OF FACEBOOK, dammit!!!

    Some people tell lies using pens and papers… GOVERNMENT ALMIGHTY NEEDS TO MICRO-MANAGE THE SNOT OUT OF PEN AND PAPER VENDORS, dammit!!!

    WHY does #1 above sound ANY more digestible than #2 above? Is Congress a bunch of anti-tech Luddites, or what?!?!?

    1. The anti-paper-and-pens voting block is pretty quiet…

  14. Not trying to tell you how to do your job Robby, but it seems to me you could use the headline “Congress asked ______ a Bunch of Really, Really Stupid Questions at the ____ Hearing” as an all-purpose template for future grandstanding events. Just fill in the blanks, easy peasy.

  15. “Congress Asked Mark Zuckerberg a Bunch of Really, Really Stupid Questions at the Libra Hearing”

    I feel for him, but I can’t quite reach him.

    1. I’d feel for him if he hadn’t walked into that circle jerk of his own free will. But as it is, it’s his problem if he takes a hot load in the eye.

  16. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) attacked Zuckerberg for allowing misleading political ads to appear on Facebook, something that has increasingly irritated high-profile Democrats as of late—most notably regulation-obsessed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.),

    He should have asked them if they think he should have refused to post Obamacare ads since they were lies.

    1. Since when did Cortez start caring about the truth?

  17. Blech. Zuck’s hair is almost as bad as Rico’s.

    1. It looks like he’s got a flip top. I think he’s a bot.

  18. Your tax dollars at work, rubes.

    Roughly two-dozen House Republicans on Wednesday stormed a closed-door deposition in secure House Intelligence Committee spaces to rail against the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, a political stunt ratcheting up the GOP complaints about the process that delayed Wednesday’s scheduled deposition for five hours.

    Get a fucking job, hippies. Next time use gas— preferably a neurotoxin.

    1. LeaveTrumpAloneLibertarian
      October.23.2019 at 9:22 pm
      “…Get a fucking job, hippies. Next time use gas— preferably a neurotoxin.”

      Pay your mortgage, you fucking lefty scumbag.

    2. Shorter LTAL: “LEAVE DEMOCRATS ALONE”

    3. >>>Get a fucking job, hippies.

      contextually your funniest line yet.

  19. “Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. ”

    When Obama did it with Facebook he bragged about it and the New York Times praised him for it. Just sayin..

    1. Social media helped Cortez get elected too.

  20. What i want to know is how does reason feel about texas allowing a mother to change her sons sex against his wishes. These woke people are fucking evil

  21. Congress as a whole once again shows just how ignorant they are about the WWW and technology in general.
    The US Govt thinks it can even force a back door to encryption services. The ignorance is absolutely glaring.
    News to the governments of the world… The Internet is a WWW and you can seek only to control only what lies within your borders.
    Next big FY to world governments, space based server farms.

    1. “”Next big FY to world governments, space based server farms.”‘

      The X-37B could be a big FY to space based servers.

    2. “Congress as a whole once again shows just how ignorant they are about the WWW and technology in general.”

      They are lawyers and they surround themselves with lawyers.

      “The US Govt thinks it can even force a back door to encryption services. The ignorance is absolutely glaring.”

      They don’t need that. Your hardware in an android phone for example can be compromised so encryption is no obstacle. And Facebook will probably retain all the meta-data it can squeeze out of its users.

  22. I was thinking, if we all wore t-shirts that announced our preferred sexual preferences, it would make our work and personal lives much easier. Bosses wouldn’t have to figure out who likes whom and in what way before they hire and job applicants wouldn’t have to bring up such a personal subject in conversation. Individuals wouldn’t get hit on my someone who doesn’t enjoy the same positions they do or the gender/s they don’t prefer. We could make it a federal equality law because more laws fix everything.

    1. You own stock in a Chinese T-shirt company, don’t you?

    2. “I was thinking, if we all wore t-shirts that announced our preferred sexual preferences, it would make our work and personal lives much easier.”

      When I walk into work with a shirt that says “I only want trannies and nothing else” people are going to have problems with it. People seem to praise diversity of sexual preferences until people start stating their preferred sexual preferences. Then they get upset.

  23. I think Facebook if evil. Yet I watch the most do nothing congress in history tell Zucker to work harder. They need to work harder on the economy and the national debt before they tell anyone else to work harder.

    1. The less “work” Congress does in general, the better.

  24. I don’t think that Mark is doing anything wrong. He is just doing better things to create Facebook an amazing platform for everyone.

  25. Seeing part of a Congressional grilling like this as a young adult is one of the main factors that cemented my political beliefs. Back then, the issue wasn’t Facebook, it was steroids in baseball.

    I was of the opinion that if someone like Jose Conseco wanted to to take steroids, that was his business, just like if he wanted to smoke pot or get drunk. At most, I was willing to grant that his employer might take action if they feel it was interfering with his work (improving his playing, in this case)—but Congress had zero business being involved.

    I was first dumbfounded, then amused, and finally angry that people whose job it is to balance the federal budget and to declare war (instead of deferring to presidents’ undeclared wars) were instead grilling athletes in the most ill-informed, narcissistic, and blatantly grand-standing way. The ability of these people to waste time as well as other people’s money is boundless. They are deserving of utter contempt and should be publicly humiliated at every opportunity. And I mean that for both parties.

  26. I can’t figure out why Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t just get up and walk out of these hearings? What’s the worst they’re going to do, hold him in contempt, which almost never means anything?

    1. Because he wants to get in good with the statists?

    2. “hold him in contempt, which almost never means anything?”

      Really? Is Zuckerberg an Attorney General or intelligence director, because that would guarantee he wouldn’t experience serious consequences for defying Congress.

      But he’s a private citizen – to be sure a rich one and I presume a major campaign donor, but a private citizen nonetheless, someone against whom both parties hold grudges.
      \
      There’s a distinct risk he might be treated like one of the peons. He probably doesn’t want to run that risk.

    3. “What’s the worst they’re going to do”

      Not regulate social media, leaving the giants like Facebook vulnerable to being unseated by upstarts.

  27. >>beleaguered

    He’s still Zuckerberg *somebody* should rake him over coals once a week anyway

    1. Sure, but in a literal sense only.

  28. “I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators”

    Sounds like a case of getting what you want. Good and hard!

  29. Like the die antwoord dude says – “don’t ask for cock or you’ll get what you asked for”.

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  32. I hope Suckerberg was taking notes on who he, and his employees, would be contributing to, when the next election approaches.

  33. This is all what they can do! I bet they do not even know how to compose a simple essay outline!