Mark Zuckerberg is many things, but an eloquent and reasoned defender of secret meetings with the world’s most powerful is not one of them.
The most awkward man in tech for some reason recently decided to sit for an interview with CBS’s morning news co-host Gayle King to discuss, along with his wife Priscilla Chan, the duo’s Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. Segments of the interview, more of which will be broadcast on Dec. 3, are peppered with what we have come to know as classic Zuckerberg moments. That is to say, the CEO stammered as he attempted, and failed, to convincingly defend controversial actions such as a recent hush-hush dinner with Donald Trump.
The dinner in question, which NBC News reported took place at the White House this past October, importantly came around the time Facebook announced it would allow politicians to pay to promote lies about their opponents on its platform. Which, of course, is something Trump’s campaign has done. CBS’s King asked Zuckerberg to defend the decision and also posed a question regarding the Trump dinner in question.
“You were in D.C. recently. It was reported later that you had dinner with the president at the White House,” noted King. “What was the nature of the meeting, can you say?”
Zuckerberg then attempted his best non-specific answer.
“Uh, sure,” he replied. “I mean, we talked about, um, a number of things that were on his mind and, um, some of the topics that you’d read about in the news around, around, our work.”
King, thankfully, didn’t let up — noting the timing regarding Facebook’s aforementioned decision on political ads and asking the CEO if Trump had tried to “lobby you in any way.”
Zuckerberg’s response is something to behold.
“Uh, no,” he began. “I mean, I don’t think that that’s … that … ehhhh … I think some of the stuff people talk about or think gets discussed in these discussions are not really how that works.”
But wait, it gets better. The King of Sharing defended his reluctance to discuss specifics of the meeting because of, wait for it, privacy.
“I also want to respect that it was a private dinner,” insisted Zuckerberg. “Private discussion.”
Got that? Zuckerberg deserves privacy when possibly discussing the fate of our democratic institutions with the literal president of the United States. Facebook users on the other hand, well, tough luck.