A commentator on Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before the Senate observed that the event seemed like a 5-hour tech-support call. Truth.
If you have ever had to do tech support, you know the way it happens. The user is hopeless, frustrated, and essentially ignorant of the product. That’s the Senate. The support employee tries to organize tasks and stay patient. That’s Zuckerberg.
Eventually, the problem is resolved when its source becomes immediately obvious. It was something dumb all along and the fix was easy. (A secret of tech support is the time on hold. The longer the technician delays answering, the more likely it is that the user will fix his or her own problem.)
So it went with the Facebook hearings. It became obvious that Senators knew essentially nothing about how Facebook works, who owns the data, how the business makes money, the platform’s relationship to the app economy, what a data breach means, and so on. Mark was on the other end of the call, explaining all the basics, filling in technical details, revealing the basic business model, speaking earnestly of his personal history and dream for the platform.