The Art of Not Giving a F*** – By Mark Zuckerberg

How Zuckerberg was a pro in avoiding some of the questions during his European Parliament testimony.

Tech News
3 min read
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of the European Parliament has created a buzz on social media for all the wrong reasons. As loquacious as Zuckerberg is during his keynotes, the EU parliament session was more of a display of how slyly Zuckerberg dodged a lot of essential questions the parliamentarians shot his way.

The 80-minute session ended with a lot of furious lawmakers dissatisfied with what had transpired that day.

But apart from Zuckerberg’s templated and somewhat robotic responses, there was a lot wrong in what we thought to be an ill-planned and ineffective method of questioning Zuckerberg by the EU Parliament.


Question-sss & Answer

As many would remember, the US testimonies of Zuckerberg involved the Senators and Congresspersons asking questions one by one and Zuckerberg answering them as they were being asked.

Each US representative was given a few minutes to grill Zuckerberg and that’s how the session progressed.

The European Parliament hearing, on the other hand, turned out to be a Zuckerberg monologue after all the parliamentarians were done asking their questions — all in one go!

(Just out of curiosity, why is there still a British parliamentarian at the session when Britain is not even a member of the European Union anymore?! Something to ponder upon.)

This was indeed a blessing in disguise for the Facebook chief as he could easily skip some of the questions asked by the parliamentarians. In the end, when he was requested to address some of the questions he ‘missed’, the bell came to the rescue as time was up.

Zuckerberg 1 - EU Parliament 0


“I’ll Have My Team Get Back to You...”

Almost all of the parliamentarians were vexed at the end of the session because Zuckerberg gave them very general answers.

Philippe Lamberts, a Green party politician said "I asked you six yes and no questions, I got not a single answer." Of the many questions that were asked, there were some that the Facebook CEO didn’t seem to pay any heed to.

Questions like:

Q. Will GDPR end WhatsApp-Facebook data sharing?

Q. What happens with the data of non-Facebook users?

Q. Can you split up Facebook Messenger and keep Instagram?

Q. Will Facebook be able to guarantee it will not cross-link its apps like Instagram and Whatsapp in the future?

Guy Verhofstadt, a liberal member of European Parliament who looked as if he had a personal vendetta against Zuckeberg, said in a statement:

“The responses we received today from Mr Zuckerberg, and indeed the restricted format of the hearing, were totally inadequate.” He also went on to add, “I have no doubt that Mr Zuckerberg is a genius, but there is a risk his legacy will be that he created a company akin to Frankenstein’s monster, which spiralled out of his own control.”

As the session ended, few members raised concerns about how the so-called meeting didn’t turn out to be the debate they wanted – to which Zuckerberg refused to answer and assured them of a response by his team in writing later.

Zuckerberg 2 - EU Parliament 0


What He Really Said

First things first... He said “Sorry”.

Also, as expected, Zuckerberg had carried his templates and notes that he had used during his testimony in the US and recited the same in front of the European parliamentarians.

As a befuddled band of lawmakers listened, Zuckerberg talked about how his company is looking to deploy more AI tools to tackle hate speech on the web and also hiring more people to track down apps that use Facebook data unscrupulously.

Now we are trying to get more AI tools to be able to flag content faster. We took down 580 million fake accounts in the last quarter. We’re working to identify fake accounts, filter them in the early stage, before they end up sharing violent content.
Mark Zuckerberg during the EU Parliament hearing

He also went on to add that Facebook will be complying with the GDPR regulations and also assured that the company will work towards showing more content for friends and family without targeting any specific political ideology.


Zuckerberg 3 - EU Parliament 0


This session was more of an obligation for the Facebook chief as he had smooth sailing throughout. Yes, the parliamentarians at the event said that this episode is not over and they would push Facebook over these issues in the days to come.

Thanks to Zuckerberg’s early exit, he was on time to catch his flight to Paris and his cup of tea with the French President must have tasted a whole lot sweeter considering he was the only man who left the parliament building with a smile on his face.

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