The printed-out internet returned on Tuesday when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Senators to answer questions about all things Facebook. There were “screenshots” terms of service, printed-out status updates, and printed-out DMs. Not since Bernie Sanders’ gigantic printed-out Trump tweet had there been such an exaggerated representation of the internet on Capitol Hill.
During the session, the 33-year-old billionaire was questioned by members of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees about his company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, among other privacy issues.
To demonstrate some of Facebook’s design and products in question, Congress utilized its trusty visual charts.
Today’s Facebook hearing included multiple uses of the social platform, during which the cartoonish posters were held up for the committee to see. The visuals began with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy asking about the type of content Facebook allows to be posted on its platform. The visual included Facebook imagery depicting the genocide in Myanmar, which the company has allegedly has helped escalate.
Later, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal used the floor’s illustrative posters to remind Zuckerberg of his apology tour on behalf of Facebook over the years.
The dramatic presentation is what we on the internet call a major “own”:
While these animated props are typically amusing nuggets of social media ephemera that feel a little like real-life memes, Congress tends to use them vigorously to drive home a point. In this case, demonstrate how Facebook is used to elderly senators.
Visual aids have become such an integral part of the governing body’s public image, that an entire site has been dedicated to archiving them. Floorcharts.com has been building a database documenting these visuals for the past several years — and it’s definitely worth a read.