U.S.

Mark Zuckerberg Testimony: 5 Key Takeaways From Facebook Founder’s Senate Appearance

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg withstood his first of two days of testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday, responding to Senatorial questions for hours. Zuckerberg held his own at the joint hearing of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees, responding to a series of privacy concerns stemming from a data breach by Cambridge Analytica.

Zuckerberg really wanted Senators to know Facebook started in his Harvard dorm room

In what appeared to be a rehearsed sound bite, Zuckerberg discussed the humble beginnings of his company a few times over the course of the hearing, mentioning specifically that the company started in his dorm room at Harvard. Zuckerberg was seemingly trying to remind his audience that even though Facebook is now a global company with more monthly users than the number of people in most countries, it has a relatable origin story much like Apple’s beginnings in a Silicon Valley garage.  

Zuckerberg mentioned his dorm room so many times that Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan poked fun of it during his questioning. “You talked about your very humble beginnings, of starting Facebook in your dorm room and I appreciated you telling that story,” he said before launching into his question.

The stock market thought Zuckerberg did a good job

Facebook shares soared and ended the day up 4.5 percent as Zuckerberg remained cool, calm and collected during the hearing. Zuckerberg’s appearance worked to calm investors who have watched as Facebook rode through a series of scandals involving privacy and Cambridge Analytica over the last few weeks.

Facebook has been interviewed by special counsel, possibly subpoenaed

Zuckerberg told Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy that Facebook personnel had been interviewed by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller about potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, though he wasn’t interviewed personally. Zuckerberg also said that he wasn’t sure, but believed that Facebook might have been subpoenaed by the counselor.

Facebook might ask you to pay to use its services

Twice during testimony, Zuckerberg said that there “will always be a version of Facebook that will be free," insinuating that his company is considering asking users to pay for certain privileges, or to avoid advertising.

Zuckerberg believes your data is safer with him than with the government

Senator Dean Heller: Do you believe you’re more responsible with millions of Americans’ personal data than the Federal government would be?

(Long pause)

Mark Zuckerberg: Yes.

GettyImages-944425728 Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images