Facebook’s Zuckerberg ‘Dodges Bullet’ During Congressional Hearing
Facebook Inc. (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress for the first time on Tuesday, answering questions about Cambridge Analytica, antitrust regulation and the company’s transparency with its users.
Investors were clearly pleased by Zuckerberg’s appearance as the stock price jumped during the hearing, though some experts found that the CEO’s answers — and senators’ questions — left a lot to be desired.
Creative Strategies president Tim Bajarin said Zuckerberg did “an incredible job.”
“He’s calm and collected,” Bajarin said. “He knows how to answer these questions even though some of them are either ridiculous or not even apropos.”
Facebook shares increased 4.5% to $165.04 Tuesday, spiking during Zuckerberg’s testimony in the afternoon.
However, Zuckerberg can’t play “the naiveté card” anymore, Bajarin said. Facebook will likely face some governmental regulation, and now the one thing at stake for investors is how any regulation might impact the company’s earning abilities, he said.
“[Zuckerberg] seems extremely committed to making sure they get it right,” Bajarin said. “Time will tell.”
Betsy Page Sigman, professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, said that Zuckerberg went from “a deer in the headlights” to “articulate and knowledgeable” — though it will be up to senators to follow up on answers Zuckerberg could not provide during the hearing.”
“He kept saying, ‘my team will get back to you,'” Sigman said. “I hope someone’s keeping track of all that.”
Jonathan Taplin, director emeritus of University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, said investors think Zuckerberg “dodged a bullet” during the testimony, in part due to sub-par questioning from Senators.
Zuckerberg was able to sidestep critical questions about global privacy regulations and potentially monopolistic characteristics of the social media behemoth, he said.
“I think [tomorrow’s hearing] will be more of the same,” Taplin said. “I don’t think these people are up to the task.”