Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with members of the European Parliament today (May 22) in what was billed as a “meeting” but ended up being more of an awkward hearing, in which the executive took a public lashing but was also let off the hook from many tough, detailed questions.
In one particularly uncomfortable moment for Zuckerberg, Nigel Farage, the well-known euro-skeptic and far-right leader, said that without social media, Trump and Brexit wouldn’t have happened, since these causes were able to circumvent traditional media to get their message to the public. “Perhaps you’re horrified by this creation of yours and what it’s led to,” he said to the 34-year-old, who looked a bit flabbergasted.
At the very end of the hearing, when it had gone over its scheduled time, there were several strained minutes, during which Zuckerberg clearly wanted to stop talking in order to avoid answering some of the more uncomfortable questions. Since no one stopped him, he said he wanted to “be sensitive to time” and ignored questions that some of the more insistent politicians kept repeating, like whether Facebook would allow users to avoid targeted advertising. He said he’d give the other answers in writing, which only sparked more quibbling among the members.