In an uncomfortable and often highly contentious session with Congress this past week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally admitted that he has no real friends, other than his “friends” on the social media site that he founded.
“Honestly, it's why I started Facebook in the first place,” confessed Zuckerberg. “I really didn't care about connecting people around the world. I mainly cared about connecting me. I was lonely.”
Zuckerbergs's heartfelt testimony clearly struck a chord with some of the more compassionate members of Congress, like Congresswoman Susan Collins of Maine.
“Zuckerberg was very honest and vulnerable in his testimony," said Collins. "It made me see him in a new light."
Zuckerberg went on to explain that the primary reason he opposes stringent regulations on Facebook's use of user data is that he fears that such restrictions will hamper his ability to seek out new “friends" on the social media platform.
“In fact," said Zuckerberg, "my persistent sense of loneliness and isolation was what prompted me to turn to Cambridge Analytica. I was hoping that by analyzing people's profiles based on a personality quiz that they took, the research group could help me find people I really connect with. It didn't exactly work out so well. But my intentions were in the right place."
Many Congress members agreed that Zuckerberg's extremely personal testimony helped them see a softer side of him.
“We lawmakers certainly don't want to prevent him from making friends,” stated South Dakota Senator John Thune. “But at the same time, we really, really hope that he agrees to let us pass some laws around social media privacy. Fingers crossed that he'll be okay with some level of regulation. We're counting on him to give us the go-ahead.”
Some in Congress, however, like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, had far less sympathy with regard to Zuckerberg's desire to make friends using the social media site. “Why can't he just go out to a bar?” asked Sanders.