Zuck to Congress: "I'll get back to you" (42 times)

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/12/dont-panic.html



So many of the questions asked were idiotic and it shows the lack of understanding of the web, as usual.

  • How many Facebook “Share” buttons there are on non-Facebook web pages.

Um. Well. I bet he has to get back to them about that. I mean, my own website has… probably several hundred? (Because they show up automatically on images and blog posts and stuff. it’s just part of it.) How the f would he know how many share buttons there are… like… out there in the web. Billions, I suppose.

And yeah. Equifax.


So this means that “the ultimate questions of life, the universe, and everything” is…
How many times…our hyper-dimensional overlords embodied as mice…(mouse clicks?)…experimenting on unsuspecting humans…gathering data…for the Total Perspective Vortex?..Infinite Improbability Drive?..just don’t have an answer…I’m struggling here. Conspiracy/comedy theorists, please, help me out here.

He should have been able to answer at least two of those on the spot. Maybe three!

Definitely this one from Lindsey Graham:

GRAHAM: …would you work with us in terms of what regulations you think are necessary in your industry?

ZUCKERBERG: Absolutely.

GRAHAM: Okay. Would you submit to us some proposed regulations?

ZUCKERBERG: Yes. And I’ll have my team follow up with you so, that way, we can have this discussion across the different categories where I think that this discussion needs to happen.

GRAHAM: Look forward to it.

It’d be pretty hard to be more blatant about inviting corporations to write the laws that are supposed to regulate them - for the good of the citizenry, or course.


In fairness, we’ve set up a system where people who don’t know how things work elect other people who don’t know how things work (mostly lawyers) to write laws dictating how things should and should not work. You need industry insiders to at least delineate between the impossible and the merely prohibitively expensive.

And once something “prohibitively expensive” becomes a legal requirement, industry is mostly okay with it. They can pass that expense on to consumers, knowing that all their competitors have to do the same and their competitive advantage hasn’t been undermined. They can make the trade-offs that consumers were never happy with, because now the consumer isn’t given a choice.

The last time automakers had to increase fuel efficiency is an example. They said it was impossible (read: prohibitively expensive) for years. Then the hammer came down and they found a way… the way that they had always known about, which is to make the cheaper cars lighter and road noise worse, while luxury cars now make you pay extra for quiet.


Not only that, but so many of these things were something I would never expect a CEO to know off the top of their head. There were a few in the time I watched (I flipped tables and left when I got to Cruz’s political grandstanding) that he may have had the ability to know (and like maybe one that he should have), but god damn, a CEO is not going to know all the ins and outs of their company if it’s that big.

Some of the questions from the WIRED list (I haven’t read all of the questions that weren’t answered “I’ll get back to you”) can’t be expected to be answered immediately or exactly, but they are the sorts of things Facebook might be reasonably expected to have some general tracking of, at least well enough to use as some sort of metric for internal developmental purposes, or to justify pricing to advertisers, or something. Nobody would manually count the share buttons, etc. but the Facebook servers can count every time a share button pings the Facebook website, identifying what content is being shared, etc. It’s common for companies to track sales, split by market and region; like buttons aren’t directly sales, but they bring people to Facebook in order to help sales and so I would expect Facebook keeps some metrics about like buttons.
Maybe a better line of questioning would have been something along the lines of what metrics does Facebook track to set goals across the company, and what are the current numbers on those metrics.


We use imperial measurements only!


Freedom Units


We’re not part of the British Empire, so we no longer use Imperial units. Our gallon is different, for one. It’s United States Customary Units (USCS or USC because why use one standard when you can have multiple).


The tumblr_odf2328zLZ1v1frjoo1_250Zuck to Congress: “I’ll get back to you”


Woof, your usernym is appropriate; you are even more depressingly cynical than me. The only weak criticism I can make of your post’s accuracy is that foreign car vendors have found multiple better ways to increase fuel efficiency that do not require crappier rides.



The society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) now uses metric units.

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Yep, and English Customary, and crazy things that are neither, too! (But not Robertson style square drives which are technically optimal and worse yet Canadian.)


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I didn’t realize we used our own proprietary measurement system. Murica’s even greater than I thought it was.


U.S.A. military uses metric.

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It’s all well and good until you realize the pints are smaller. Then you start to really appreciate an Irish bar that uses a British pint.


Everybody in the USA uses metric. Also we use English customary. Also secretly Canadian (Robertson) whenever the SAE isn’t looking.

But we don’t use those silly English pipe threads like metric countries do (except on NATO ships, whoops!)

EDIT: I apologize for derailing the thread and will post no more on America’s greatness in measuring system technologies today. Please resume commenting on Mr. Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony, if you would!


I watched Ted Cruz’s portion today, too. He actually asked if Zuckerberg knows the political orientation of the fifteen to twenty thousand people who are engaged in content reviews. I thought this was supposed to be about misused data, not whether Facebook had a political bias.