Let’s just say Sen. Orrin Hatch might not have the best understanding of Facebook.
The 84-year-old Utah senator didn’t seem to know how the social network — one of the two biggest advertising companies on the internet — makes its revenue. (Hint: It’s by offering a free site propped up by targeted ads.)
“So, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?” Sen. Hatch asked Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday.
“Senator, we run ads,” replied a smirking Zuckerberg.
Sen. Hatch: "If [a version of Facebook will always be free], how do you sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?"
Mark Zuckerberg: "Senator, we run ads." https://t.co/CbFO899XlU pic.twitter.com/bGKWks7zIk
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 10, 2018
The exchange instantly caught fire on Twitter, and the jokes started to roll in at Hatch’s expense.
Orrin Hatch: “This is the craziest computer shit I’ve been involved in since the late 90s!”
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) April 10, 2018
Senator Orrin Hatch to Mark Zuckerberg: “So it’s not a real book?”
— Ryan A. Mick (@micktorious) April 10, 2018
Orrin Hatch uses MySpace.
— Windsor Mann (@WindsorMann) April 10, 2018
Orrin Hatch just asked how Facebook makes money, but, in his defense, he was distracted because he forgot where he parked his dinosaur.#Zuckerberg
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) April 10, 2018
Orrin Hatch just asked Zuckerberg how Facebook makes money if it doesn’t charge users. MZ looked very briefly confused, small smile then , “Senator, we run ads”.
— Chris Jansing (@ChrisJansing) April 10, 2018
Hatch: “How do sustain a business model in which people users don’t pay for your service?”
Zuck: “Senator. We sell ads.” pic.twitter.com/6Xtz8jl0kT
— MJA (@MJADetBos) April 10, 2018
— Dar ???? POTUS TRUMP (@DatTrumpUSA) April 10, 2018
Zuckerberg was on Capitol Hill for the first of two days of congressional testimony on the Cambridge Analytica data leak — when 87 million users had their profile information unwittingly shared. Zuckerberg took responsibility for the leak, as well as the company’s inability to weed out Russian disinformation during the 2016 U.S. election.
“One of my greatest regrets in running the company is that we were slow in identifying the Russian information operations in 2016,” Zuckerberg said in response to a question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California). “We expected them to do a number of more traditional cyberattacks — which we did identify and notified the campaigns that they were trying to hack into them — but we were slow in identifying the type of new information operations.”