Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana didn’t mince his words with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at the Senate hearing on Tuesday, stating in plain terms, “Here's what everybody's been trying to tell you today, and I say this gently. Your user agreement sucks.”
In a colorful exchange late in the hours-long hearing, the senator told Zuckerberg to rewrite his user agreement in “English and non-Swahili” so the broader public could understand it.
"You can spot me 75 IQ points. If I can figure it out, you can figure it out," Kennedy said. "The purpose of that user agreement is to cover Facebook's rear-end. It's not to inform your users about their rights."
“I am going to suggest to you that you go back home and you rewrite it and tell your $1,200-an hour lawyers, no disrespect, they're good, but tell them that you want it written in English and non-Swahili, so the average American can understand it. That would be a start,” Kennedy added.
“I'm a lawyer. I have no idea what that means,” Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said, agreeing.
It wasn’t all criticism, however. Kennedy peppered his statements about Zuckerberg with several compliments about his intellect and vision.
“I think you are a really smart guy and I think that you have built an extraordinary American company and you've done a lot of good," Kennedy said. "Some of the things you've been able to do are magical, but our promised digital utopia, we have discovered, has minefields. There are some impurities in the Facebook punchbowl and they got to be fixed, and I think you can fix them."
The two men shook hands at the end of the hearing, which lasted for hours but didn't yield much new information.
Cover image: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) (L) greets Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)