If you actually watched all or part of Tuesday's Senate hearing pretending to explore what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg knew about Cambridge Analytica and when he knew it, you would have realized that he was being massaged like the tiny loaf of pasty white dough he so closely resembles. You knew he was in for a luxurious kneading when Sen. Jon Tester praised his tax-evading fortune as a "charity" before he got the first question.
You knew who really was in charge of this puff pastry lesson when Zuckerberg prefaced almost every evasive answer to a softball question with a condescending, "That is a really good question, Senator."
You could almost see Zuck patting each of their empty little heads as he took frequent sips of the US Senate-brand bottled designer water. It was the only sign that he was even remotely nervous. In fact, he must have felt like the Pillsbury Doughboy after awhile, because the over-hyped Grand Inquisition consisted of one ticklish finger-jab after the other. The disingenuous queries about whether he is afraid Facebook might become a monopoly were particularly amusing.
He got so confident, in fact, that he actually pulled a Hillary Clinton and credited himself with inspiring the #MeToo movement. This is really pretty amazing, given that he originally started Facebook as a hacking tool to shame and rate the bodies and faces of his female Harvard classmates. But no matter. The way he told it to the senators, he started Facebook because he wanted to make the world a better place. His only fault, he implied, was that he was just a wee lad of 19 when he had his utopian brainstorm in his humble dorm room. Callow youth that he was and still is, he never dreamed that his apps and his algorithms could be abused by "bad actors." If the old Coke theme song selling perfect harmony and a smile on the face of an earth e-moji had started echoing through the Senate chamber during his testimony, I would not have been surprised.
Zuck's real ace in the hole was when he coyly let out that Facebook has been subpoenaed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and that he will gladly be cooperating with the investigation of Donald Trump, and Russian meddling and other colluding things. Beyond that, though, he can't be more specific lest national security be threatened. But of course, he'll be glad to tell them everything he knows in a more secret setting so that actual people can be kept in the dark. Just as he is opaque about how exactly his apps and his algorithms suck up and misuse the information of billions of global Facebook users, he will be opaque about his own exalted role in both bringing down a president and helping the "intelligence" communities simultaneously censor users and spy upon them.
Not that he himself knows much of anything, of course. Callow idealist that he is, the details have escaped him. But he'll have "his team" get back to the Senate team. Because they're all on the same team. And we're just bystanders who are too stupid to read the fine print of the convoluted user agreements we sign as we sell our souls to the Silicon Valley devils.
As the New York Times reported in its own rehash of the "grilling,"
Zuckerberg must have felt like Julia Child trying to teach a first-day class of culinary students who'd never boiled an egg in their lives how to prepare Beef Wellington.The technological gap between Silicon Valley and Washington was apparent when Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican of Mississippi, asked about internet regulation.Mr. Zuckerberg explained that when thinking about regulations, government officials need to differentiate between internet companies like his and broadband providers, the companies that build and run the “pipes” that carry internet traffic, like AT&T and Comcast.
The difference is at the heart of net neutrality, a hotly debated regulation that was overturned last year. The rules prevent internet service providers from favoring the flow of all internet content through their pipes.“I think in general the expectations that people have of the pipes are somewhat different from the platforms,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.“When you say pipes, you mean?” Mr. Wicker asked.
Another plutocrat has hit the jackpot. It's the Luck of the Zuck, or as it's more commonly known among the ruling class racketeers: "the house always wins."