Perhaps the most telling exchange of Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 testimony before Congress took place between Zuckerberg and Senator Orrin Hatch.
Hatch: You said back then that Facebook would always be free. Is that still your objective?
Zuckerberg: Senator, yes. There will always be a version of Facebook that is free.
Hatch: Well, if so, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?
Zuckerberg: Senator, we run ads.
Facebook did not pioneer the business model of offering a free service in exchange for user data to sell ads. Google did, and that model was nearly 20 years old when Senator Hatch asked his question to Zuckerberg. It calls into question how Congress could be expected to oversee the safe use of technology if they don’t understand how it works. The average age of a member of the House of Representatives is 58 and a Senator’s average age is 62. Their ages harken to a time when women were human computers, the US hadn’t yet landed on the moon, and the first video game console was yet to be invented.