Quantcast
Connect with us

Here are 3 key expressions from Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony that reveal what he was really thinking

Published

on

Facial expressions and body movements, whether we make them knowingly or not, can persuade people.

As experts in political discourse and facial displays – how scientists often refer to facial expressions – we have analyzed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s five-hour Senate hearing on April 10. We looked at what kinds of questions senators asked and how Zuckerberg answered them.

ADVERTISEMENT

What matters most in this kind of analysis is determining whether a person’s facial expressions are appropriate for what is being stated and whether their muscular movements reliably reflect their intentions.

While an individual may be smiling, that expression doesn’t always mean they are happy. They could be expressing sarcasm or politeness, depending on the context.

These facial clues can help viewers figure out whether a speaker – Zuckerberg in this case – is saying what he means. Zuckerberg was reserved but not impenetrable. His facial displays, while slight and subtle, were revealing.

Unenthusiastic frowning

Zuckerberg began his hearing with the senators by indicating he was not excited to be there.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Chuck Grassley opened the joint session by welcoming the CEO. During Grassley’s statements, Zuckerberg pulled the corners of his lips downward, a muscular movement associated with an encounter with something unpleasant. Even without a verbal response, we can already see Zuckerberg’s displeasure at sitting in front of the committee.

Amused smiling

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, complimented Zuckerberg by calling attention to his success, rhetorically asking if it could happen “only in America.” When Zuckerberg tried to tell the senator that there are successful Chinese tech companies, Sullivan jokingly told Zuckerberg that he is “supposed to answer yes to this question.”

In response, Zuckerberg gave an amused smile and laughed. Sullivan and much of the joint committee and the audience laughed too.

ADVERTISEMENT

When laughing, the corners of Zuckerberg’s lips were pulled up and at an angle, the muscles around his eyes were contracted, and his jaw dropped.

ADVERTISEMENT

The combination of these facial muscular movements show that a person is likely feeling amused. Between the jovial laughter shared between Zuckerberg and Sullivan, and Zuckerberg’s seemingly happy facial expression, he appears glad to be laughing at a comment at his own expense rather than taking hard questioning.

Some of Zuckerberg’s smiles were quite subtle throughout the hearing, but this smile indicated an exchange of humor.

Uncertain lip-pursing

ADVERTISEMENT

Throughout the hearing, Zuckerberg is seen pursing and pulling his lips into his mouth, particularly when senators posed negatively framed questions.

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, asked about Zuckerberg’s accountability to the 87 million people whose information was breached by Cambridge Analytica, the incident which led to Zuckerberg’s appearance before Congress. The senator began with confrontational statements about Facebook’s “pattern of lax data practices” and asked Zuckerberg why Facebook hadn’t informed users about the breach when it happened.

Zuckerberg pushed his lower lip upward and both lips together. This suggests he was feeling vexed about Nelson’s statement that “the recent scandal is frustrating not only because it affected 87 million, but because it seems to be part of a pattern of lax data practices by the company going back years.” This indicated a degree of anger – either at the question, the breach or both.

ADVERTISEMENT

Zuckerberg did not provide a complete reply to Nelson’s question. By not completely answering the question, Zuckerberg’s tells us he doesn’t want to supply Nelson with a straightforward answer. Instead, he described the process Facebook went through to punish the developer who sold users’ personal information to Cambridge Analytica.

This moment revealed how the question of accountability is still a touchy point for him.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’

Published

on

President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.

According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.

"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."

"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

Published

on

"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Conservative columnist nails the infectious diseases the Trump White House is suffering from

Published

on

On Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot revealed the "diseases" at the heart of President Donald Trump's administration that are weakening their capacity to respond to the very real disease threat from coronavirus.

Simply put: Fevered nationalism, hatred of the civil service, and a pathological desire to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama.

"Covid-19 has already infected more than 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing more than 2,600 deaths, and experts doubt it will slow in the spring," wrote Boot. "That a virus that started in China could have a bad impact on the United States should be no surprise: Diseases don’t respect borders any more than terrorists or trade flows do. Transnational threats require transnational solutions. To cite but one example, many of the medicines and medical supplies that Americans need, including N95 face masks, come from China."

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image