Lawmaker Let Constituents Ask Zuckerberg Irrelevant Questions

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

When lawmakers had the chance to ask Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook — one of the largest and most influential companies in the world — they turned not to technology experts, digital rights advocates, or anyone with a technical credibility, but rather their own constituents, who seem perplexed on how to use the social media platform.

Facebook submitted a 748-page response to representatives’ questions on Friday from the highly publicized congressional testimony on April 10 and 11. Similar to the company’s answers to senators it submitted on June 8 and released publicly June 11, some of the answers to House Energy and Commerce Committee members are dodgy.

However, some of the questions representatives asked them were, as Facebook put it, “not germane to the hearing.” (RELATED: Zuckerberg Admits Mishandling Controversy Surrounding Labeling Conservative Pundits ‘Dangerous’)

One congresswoman, Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, asked more questions than all other representatives combined. It appears that she, rather than go to aforementioned experts to craft important questions, let her constituents ask the questions, an apparent trend followed by other representatives.

The Daily Caller News Foundation dug through some of Eshoo’s 542 questions and found that Facebook said 42 of them, more questions than any other representative asked Facebook, were irrelevant to the hearing.

“Fact: If I stole a pizza, I’d be in jail. Why shouldn’t you and other Facebook execs be in jail? (that happened to a person in Palo Alto),” one question read. Some of the other questions submitted were:

  • “Do you consider yourself a ‘true’ American patriot? If ‘yes’: How do you reconcile that with your company’s behavior?”
  • “How do you look at yourself in the mirror?”

Evidence that Eshoo, among others, simply copied and pasted their constituents questions and sent them to Facebook without vetting, is seen in several questions:

  • “Hi Anna—This is a massive betrayal of every Facebook user and of democracy. Criminal negligence?”
  • “Go get ’em Anna!”
  • “Hi, Anna – Sylvia’s daughter Diana here. I think the only thing I can think to ask is “Why?'”

It does not appear that Eshoo vetted the questions and her office did not respond to a request for comment, as many are statements rather than questions:

  • “Good luck. He (Mark Zuckerberg) will make the senate/congress look buffoonish. He has already done in Menlo Park.”
  • “Only a comment. Thank goodness I deleted my account several years ago.”
  • “Give him (Mark Zuckerberg) an example if you can, of how a family could be affected by the way he operates without it.”
  • “My techy husband and I are both flabbergasted at his (Mark Zuckerberg’s) arrogance and his ‘I’m above the fray’ attitude. Perhaps this can be turned into an appropriate question. Thank you (Rep. Anna Eshoo) for all you do for us.”
  • “There is no justification for putting profit before privacy.”

Some statements submitted as questions to Zuckerberg and Facebook demanded the company intervene in politics, particularly against President Donald Trump and news surrounding him:

  • “Ask him (Mark Zuckerberg) how it feels to be complicit in the wrongful election of Trump!!!”
  • “Would you support impeaching Trump to atone for fake news placement and propaganda on Facebook?”
  • “We are heading down the wrong road. Stop Trump, stop wasting time with honest people.”

Other questions asked, such as “Why is it so difficult to delete Facebook pages?” show that her constituents didn’t understand why Eshoo was asking Zuckerberg questions in the first place, or how to use Facebook in general.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KylePerisic

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