In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg waltzed into the halls of Congress for the most high-profile moment of his career. He was pale and glass-eyed, his tie wrapped loosely around his neck, and his hair cropped high and thin in a bizarre homage to Augustus Caesar. His speech was practiced and robotic, and while his performance made him out to be a freak in the eyes of the public, the hearing was a victory. Zuckerberg’s empire was at the height of its power, and he demonstrated the government could engage with even the basic questions about the internet. Today, Zuckerberg is a different man. He has hobbies and a family—he’s even growing his hair out. The CEO seems almost… human? But at a fresh hearing on Wednesday, he learned that almost human isn’t enough. Today, Zuckerberg had the most humiliating experience of his public life.
Zuckerberg went before Congress for a brutal, hours-long hearing about child safety online, joined by fellow tech leaders including X/Twitter’s Linda Yaccarino, TikTok’s Shou Chew, Snap’s Evan Spiegel, and Discord’s Jason Citron. The naive Senate that once struggled to understand how Facebook makes money is gone, and as the hearing wore on, the nation’s top politicians dragged Zuckerberg neck deep into the muck.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn told Zuckerberg “It appears that [Meta] is trying to be the premiere sex trafficking site in this country.” (The CEO called this “ridiculous.”) Sen. Lindsey Graham all but called him a murderer, saying ”You have a product that’s killing people.” But the most impactful moment by far came during questions from Sen. Josh Hawley, who drew standing ovations from the audience as he berated Meta’s chief executive.
“There’s families of victims here today. Have you apologized?” Hawley asked as he interrupted Zuckerberg’s faltering attempts at self-defense. “Would you like to do so now? They’re here, you’re on national television, would you like now to apologize to the victims? Show him the pictures.”
Sitting behind the panel of CEOs were parents and family members of social media’s youngest victims. Some stood up and glared at Zuckerberg, holding photos of children who died of suicide and drug overdoses, allegedly after interactions on Instagram, Facebook, and other tech platforms.
Zuckerberg hesitated, turning his head to look at the people gathered in the audience. “I’m sorry,” he said, standing to face them, his voice trailing to a whisper as he spoke off the microphones. “It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered and this is why we invest so much and we are going to continue doing industry-wide efforts to make sure no one has to go through the things your families have had to suffer.”
The man is among the richest and most successful people on Earth. Zuckerberg’s projects have attracted billions of users, untold riches, and a level of influence once reserved for presidents and kings. But he’s never received the adoration showered on many of his tech leader peers, and his place in history is tarnished in a way that’s almost certainly permanent.
But at the same time, Zuckerberg has also never enjoyed as much goodwill as he does today (though, of course, he set the bar low). Last year, a public spat with Elon Musk in 2023 saw the internet making memes in support of Zuckerberg en masse, perhaps for the very first time. Not only is his public image at an all-time high, he’s had a physical glow-up as well. His venture into mixed martial arts has him in peak physical condition, his suits fit better—and then there’s his new haircut. According to Max Zeff, breaking news reporter and resident style expert at Gizmodo, Zuck’s hair looks “better than ever.”
All that won’t save Zuckerberg from the consequences of 20 years of data heists, genocide, hate speech, misinformation, terrorism, harms to children, and countless other problems. The world may finally be ready to deal with the crises he’s left in his wake. If nothing else, senators are going to yell at him about it.
If nothing else, Zuck will have his new beautiful hair to keep him company, and that’s something to celebrate. Click through the slideshow up top to see 10 dashing pics of the billionaire’s new ‘do, or just scroll down if you’re on a mobile device.