Senators Had a Lot to Say About Facebook. That Hasn’t Stopped Them From Using It.


From left, Senators Cory Gardner, Shelley Moore Capito and Todd Young listening to Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

With respect to Facebook, United States senators don’t seem to be too different from many of us: They don’t necessarily trust it, but they’re not ready to quit it.

Even as the members of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees were questioning Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, during a nearly five-hour hearing on Tuesday, many of them were feeding content back into the site.

The most active, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, posted more than 20 times during Mr. Zuckerberg’s two days on Capitol Hill.

All 44 of the senators who questioned Mr. Zuckerberg on Tuesday have pages on the platform he built. At least 35 of them have two Facebook pages, with many using one page for official Senate communications and a second page for their campaign-related material to avoid violating ethics laws.

In most cases, senators’ social media accounts are run by members of their staffs, which may account for the disconnect between some of the critical questions lobbed at Mr. Zuckerberg and the relatively robust social media presences of the senators asking them.

At one point during the Tuesday hearing, for example, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked Mr. Zuckerberg about his company’s top competitors, singling out one in particular.

“Is Twitter the same as what you do?” Mr. Graham asked.

Mr. Zuckerberg did acknowledge some similarities between the two social networking sites. But Mr. Graham — or, at least, someone in his office — already appeared to have some fluency in both platforms. After Tuesday’s hearing, Mr. Graham posted his statement on the hearings to Facebook and uploaded a screenshot of his statement to Twitter.

Similarly, early in the hearing, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah asked Mr. Zuckerberg, “How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”

“Senator, we run ads,” Mr. Zuckerberg responded, providing a basic fact that’s central to Facebook’s operations.

Mr. Hatch (whose office later said on Twitter that his remarks were intended to make a point about transparency) has had a Facebook page since 2009 and has posted there 188 times in the past year.

Though many of the questions the 44…

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Peter Bordes

Exec Chairman & Founder at oneQube
Exec Chairman & Founder of oneQube the leading audience development automation platfrom. Entrepreneur, top 100 most influential angel investors in social media who loves digital innovation, social media marketing. Adventure travel and fishing junkie.
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