a preposterously formatted hearing at the European
Parliament on Tuesday, Zuckerberg was subjected to 40
minutes of eye-watering monologues from EU lawmakers, who
surrounded him like they were taking part in a ritual
politicians, from all different ends of the political
spectrum, posed questions about a collection of Facebook
crises over the past 18 months, including the Cambridge
Analytica data breach, election interference, and fake news.
far, so familiar for Zuckerberg. But one important new theme
did emerge from the session: The idea that Facebook's woes
will damage on Zuckerberg's legacy.
starkest analysis was offered by Guy Verhofstadt, the
European Parliament's Brexit coordinator and a man who has
become famous for trolling Britain's decision to leave the
EU. Finger-wagging at Zuckerberg over his thick-rimmed
glasses, the Belgian said:
have to ask yourself how you will be remembered. As one of
the big three internet giants, together with Steve Jobs and
Bill Gates, who have enriched our world and our societies.
Or on the other hand, a genius who created a digital monster
that is destroying our democracies and societies. That is a
question you have to put to yourself, for yourself."
on the hearing to Business Insider, another EU
politician asked if Zuckerberg wants to go down in history
as the man who let Vladimir Putin "trash" democracy or the
man who built a social network for the wider good.
the session, Zuckerberg stared back at Verhofstadt grimly.
His expression was almost haunted as he contemplated what
the European lawmaker was asking him. And we know from
Zuckerberg's recent comments that the exchange may have been
a gut punch.
was only in January that the 34-year-old multi-billionaire
admitted that he was giving more thought to his legacy after
becoming a father. "It's important to me that when Max and
August grow up that they feel like what their father built
was good for the world," Mark Zuckerbergtold
The New York Times.
a mission that contrasts with a company mired in scandal,
and which can impact almost every major world democracy. And
it is why Zuckerberg said sorry again, laying out his plans
to take action by investigating data scraping apps and being
more transparent about election interference.