Mark Zuckerberg began his testimony before congressional committees on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, while he is accused of selling the personal data of millions of users and potentially influencing the 2016 U.S. election, viewers were distracted by the booster seat he brought to the hearing.
Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate Judiciary & Commerce Committees in his official capacity of the CEO of Facebook. He was there to discuss "Data Privacy and Protection," according to C-Span. The hearing is especially big news, as the recent Cabridge Analytica leak showed that Facebook data was accessed through third party apps to influence political elections.
Reporters lined up to get into the hearing, and before Zuckerberg was brought in, one took notice of the special seat that had been put in place for him. An over-sized leather cushion was wedged onto Zuckerberg's seat, pinned between the arms and back of the chair. The cushion appeared to be several inches thick, and Andrew Beaujon, the reporter who tweeted a picture of it, referred to it as a "booster seat."
Stop infantilizing Mark Zuckerberg! Also, here’s his booster seat. (Photographs by Evy Mages.) pic.twitter.com/MeKwDZwIEF— Andrew Beaujon (@abeaujon) April 10, 2018
Many on Twitter and across social media mocked Zuckerberg for the seat. Some believed the young billionaire had been caught making a transparent attempt to appear more formidable before members of congress. Zuckerberg is five feet, seven inches tall, according to most reports.
"Because stress can cause hemorrhoids?" proposed one user.
Because stress can cause hemorrhoids?— H_R (@OttoWeinert) April 10, 2018
"Is he 3'6"?" asked another. "I had something like that when I was getting my haircut at age 4."
Is he 3'6"? I had something like that when I was getting my haircut at age 4.— Shawn (@2014Shawn) April 10, 2018
"Well, robots do need some extra padding to sit down," joked one person.
Well, robots do need some extra padding to sit down— Shane Flannagan (@shaneflannagan) April 10, 2018
One user offered a plausible explanation, even if it was phrased in a sardonic way, writing: "they do this when a witness is gonna be there for a loooooooooong f—ing time".
they do this when a witness is gonna be there for a loooooooooong fucking time— C-SPAM (@c__spam) April 10, 2018
Zuckerberg has been the target of cruel jokes and vitriol for weeks now, ever since news broke that he had allowed user data to fall into the hands of political groups. The world has slowly become more cognizent of Facebook's lax privacy policies, which make it extremely easy for third party apps to access lots of information about users, and even their friends, without defending why that information might be relevant to the services they provide.0comments
Zuckerberg's public skewering culminated over the weekend in a Saturday Night Live skit, where Alex Moffat played him as deranged and socially inept. In the skit, Zuckerberg declared that he would not step down from his powerful position "because I don't have to and you can't make me."
Zuckerberg answered questions from over 40 members of congress from both sides of the political fence.