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D.C. trip pays off: $2.8 billion haul for Zuckerberg from five-hour hearing - SFGate


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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American ... more
Photo: Alex Brandon, Associated Press

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target ... more
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press

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Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., left, accompanied by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., right, takes a photo as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., left, accompanied by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., right, takes a photo as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, testifies at a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg faces two days of congressional hearings and it is clear that lawmakers are prepared to make Facebook a proxy for all of Silicon Valley. (Lawrence Jackson/The New York Times) less
Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, testifies at a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg faces two days of congressional ... more
Photo: LAWRENCE JACKSON, NYT

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Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., center, questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., center, questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses before taking his seat to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo, Alex Brandon) less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses before taking his seat to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of ... more
Photo: Alex Brandon, Associated Press

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Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, questions Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., left, during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg apologized, defended his company, and jousted with questioners while agreeing with others during his first-ever congressional testimony. Early reviews on his effort to restore trust with lawmakers and the public were mostly positive. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg less
Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, questions Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., left, during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees ... more
Photo: Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg

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Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, second from left questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo, Alex Brandon) less
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, second from left questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about ... more
Photo: Alex Brandon, Associated Press

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Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, prepares to testify at a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg is expected to be grilled about how and why the company failed to protect its users' private data here today, and tomorrow before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times) less
Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, prepares to testify at a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg is expected to be ... more
Photo: TOM BRENNER, NYT

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Code Pink activists protest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before he testifies before the Senate judiciary and commerce committees on Capitol Hill over social media data breach, on April 10, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS) less
Code Pink activists protest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before he testifies before the Senate judiciary and commerce committees on Capitol Hill over social media data breach, on April 10, 2018 in Washington, ... more
Photo: Olivier Douliery, TNS

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A woman wearing a blue and green pointy wig, aiming to look like a Russian troll, arrives before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
A woman wearing a blue and green pointy wig, aiming to look like a Russian troll, arrives before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives at a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign.  less
Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 ... more
Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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An aide to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg closes a binder of notes left on the table as Zuckerberg takes a short break from testifying before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
An aide to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg closes a binder of notes left on the table as Zuckerberg takes a short break from testifying before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., arrives after a break during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg apologized, defended his company, and jousted with questioners while agreeing with others during his first-ever congressional testimony. Early reviews on his effort to restore trust with lawmakers and the public were mostly positive. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg less
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., arrives after a break during a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April ... more
Photo: Al Drago, Bloomberg

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.  less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in ... more
Photo: JIM WATSON, AFP/Getty Images

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Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, front left, and Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, front right, speak with aides as Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., not pictured, testifies before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg apologized, defended his company, and jousted with questioners while agreeing with others during his first-ever congressional testimony. Early reviews on his effort to restore trust with lawmakers and the public were mostly positive. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg less
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, front left, and Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, front right, speak with aides as Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of ... more
Photo: Al Drago, Bloomberg

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, takes a drink of water while testifying before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, takes a drink of water while testifying before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he testifies before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaks as Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., not pictured, testifies before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg apologized, defended his company, and jousted with questioners while agreeing with others during his first-ever congressional testimony. Early reviews on his effort to restore trust with lawmakers and the public were mostly positive. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg less
Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaks as Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., not pictured, testifies before a ... more
Photo: Al Drago, Bloomberg

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People wait in line to get into a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees where Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook�s chief executive, is slated to testify, at the Hart Senate Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2018. Zuckerberg is to begin two days of testimony Tuesday, after meeting with lawmakers on Monday and apologizing for the social network�s failings. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times) less
People wait in line to get into a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees where Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook�s chief executive, is slated to testify, at the Hart Senate Building on Capitol ... more
Photo: TOM BRENNER, NYT

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., points to a sign held by an aide as he questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who appears before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) less
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., points to a sign held by an aide as he questions Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who appears before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

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Life-sized cutouts depicting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing "Fix Fakebook" T-shirts are displayed by advocacy group, Avaaz, on the South East Lawn of the Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, ahead of Zuckerberg's appearance before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing. less
Life-sized cutouts depicting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing "Fix Fakebook" T-shirts are displayed by advocacy group, Avaaz, on the South East Lawn of the Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, ... more
Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018, to meet with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018, to meet with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Zuckerberg will

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Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, center, leaves a meeting with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018. Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, center, leaves a meeting with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018. Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Commerce ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, top center left, leave a meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018. Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, top center left, leave a meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, ... more
Photo: Andrew Harnik, AP

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018, to meet with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee. Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. less
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018, to meet with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee. Zuckerberg will testify ... more
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

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D.C. trip pays off: $2.8 billion haul for Zuckerberg from five-hour hearing

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With the eyes of Silicon Valley, Washington and Wall Street focused on him, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday successfully stood up to sometimes tricky questions from senators on topics from privacy scandals to foreign election interference to the tech industry’s political leanings.

No matter how you look at it, Zuckerberg, the 33-year-old billionaire, profited from sitting for five hours as the lone witness before a joint session of the Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce, Science and Transportation committees.

Investors apparently liked what they heard. Facebook’s stock price on Tuesday rose about 4.5 percent to $165.04 per share. That boosted Zuckerberg’s net worth by $2.8 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Zuckerberg remained confident, prepared and on message — far from the sweaty, nervous mess he became during another public appearance about privacy issues eight years ago — during the first of two consecutive days on the hill. He’s set to testify again Wednesday when he appears before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“He’s doing better than most CEOs do in front of Congress,” said crisis communications expert Gene Grabowski, a former Capitol Hill journalist and now a partner in the Washington, D.C., public relations firm Kglobal. “He looked prepared. He didn’t look rattled. He looked better than CEOs twice his age.”

“Zuckerberg’s performance was a mix of awkward, incisive determination, and part servile puppy dog,” said Eric Schiffer, a crisis and brand management expert and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants of Los Angeles. Despite that, Schiffer added, “Zuckerberg did go a long way to stop the hemorrhaging.”

That may still be a good outcome, considering the circumstances of Zuckerberg’s summoning to Washington. Lawmakers called for him to answer questions about how the Menlo Park social-networking giant has handled the brewing scandal around Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has said as many as 87 million users, out of its 2.2 billion members, might have had their personal data improperly accessed by the British data-mining firm that worked for President Trump’s election campaign.

For the most part, Zuckerberg stuck to his message that he and Facebook did make serious mistakes dealing with Cambridge Analytica, but were now doing their best to rectify the problems. When he couldn’t answer specific questions, such as exactly how many fake accounts the company removed while investigating Russian election interference, he deferred by promising he would direct “my team” to follow up with the answers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives amid a media swarm to testify before congressional committees. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives amid a media swarm to testify before congressional committees.

He eschewed his trademark hoodie in favor of a conservative dark suit and Facebook-blue tie, in line with the standard Washington uniform.

Hours of prehearing training by legal experts paid off. Zuckerberg came off looking better than some of the senators, whose questions were likely written by staff members who knew more than their bosses about technology, Grabowski said.

“These senators wouldn’t know a bot from a banner ad,” Grabowski said.

For the most part, Zuckerberg remained courteous yet expressionless even when the questions from the 44 senators ranged far beyond just the privacy scandal, including whether diet-product advertisers could target teenagers struggling with their weight or whether Facebook would consider an ad-free, paid version.

At one point, he explained to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., how he could control whether he saw ads for chocolate if he commented about chocolate on Facebook. And Sen. Joe Kennedy, R-La., said Facebook’s “user agreement sucks” and admonished Zuckerberg to “go back home and rewrite it in English, not Swahili, so the average American can understand it.”

The toughest questions were political, not technical. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tried to get Zuckerberg to step on a land mine when he asked him to comment on how a “great many Americans” viewed Bay Area tech companies like Facebook as having a “pervasive pattern” of “bias and political censorship” against conservative views and causes.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that Silicon Valley was an “extremely left-leaning place,” and that it was a fair concern “that people would have at least wondered about.” But he said he was “very committed to make sure Facebook is a platform for all ideas.”

Cruz brought up the sudden ouster of Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, creator of a virtual reality headset who sold his company to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. Some months after it was disclosed that Luckey had financed a conservative anti-Hillary Clinton, pro-Trump group called Nimble America in 2016, Luckey quietly left the company.

Facebook has not formally acknowledged Luckey was fired. But when Cruz asked why Luckey was fired, Zuckerberg said, “It was not because of a political view.”

The hearings may result in the introduction of laws regulating social networking, and Zuckerberg — trying not to appear defensive or arrogant, as some critics have painted him — said he was open to some regulation.

“My position is not there should be no regulations,” but the real question “is more what are the right regulations,” he said.

Zuckerberg has come a long way since his infamous 2010 appearance on stage at the D: All Things Digital conference that drew an audience of tech-industry leaders. Zuckerberg squirmed and sweated profusely when he was grilled by conference hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher about Facebook pushing its members to share more private information on the network.

One pundit called it Zuckerberg’s “Richard Nixon moment.” After Zuckerberg broke into a flop sweat, Swisher had to coax him to remove his hoodie and cool down.

Daniel Ives, head of technology research for GBH Insights, said Zuckerberg’s testimony was key not only for Facebook, but for Internet companies like Google and Twitter that also might face new regulations from Congress.

“This is the most pivotal 48 hours of Zuckerberg’s career, and so far he is performing above expectations, and the Street is showing a sigh of relief,” Ives said in an email.

“Zuckerberg looks confident and is a stark contrast to the fears this was going to be another Rocky movie with a Congressional beating,” he said in an email. “Facebook needs to navigate through these hearings with a path for slight to moderate regulatory oversight versus heavy handed regulation, which is the fear of investors.”

Benny Evangelista is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: bevangelista@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ChronicleBenny



Source : https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Zuckerberg...