Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become an international celebrity. He's a young billionaire, the largest stakeholder in one of the world's most influential companies, and also something of a pop culture icon. He was the subject of the multi-Oscar-nominated 2010 film The Social Network, after which everything from his choice of wardrobe to his dietary choices have become fodder for national debate and discussion.
This level of exposure and scrutiny has revealed that The Zuck is bit of a socially awkward penguin. Something about his presence, on stage and in public, makes people sort of uncomfortable. Zuck's public persona has grown warmer and more secure throughout the years, as Facebook grew into the biggest thing since sliced bread, but there have been missteps along the way. Take a Mark Zuckerberg interview at the D8 conference when he was grilled on privacy issues. Zuckerberg, wearing his trademark hooded sweatshirt, was sweating and even zoning out over the course of an accidentally iconic interview.Whether it's because of sticky situations in which the founder of the social network couldn't even figure out his own privacy settings for personal photos, Mark Zuckerberg has been in his share of awkward moments throughout the years. And just as Facebook sees no sign of stopping anytime soon, we can only expect more awkward moments from the Zuck in the future.
Zuck Only Eats What He Kills
Mark's a big fan of yearly "personal challenges" to himself. For example, in 2009, he dared himself to wear a tie every day for a year. And then, possibly hoping to pull himself back from the very brink of madness following such a wild stunt, he announced in 2011 that he'd only be eating animals he personally has killed. He didn't actually add "with my own bare hands" after that, but I think we all know it was implied.
He made the announcement himself on his Facebook page with the following post that I swear I am not making up:
"I just killed a pig and a goat"
It instantly got a whole bunch of likes, mostly from people who hate goats and pigs. (Zuck later added that he "cut the throat of the goat with a knife, which is the most kind way to do it." So don't get judgey.)
Zuck later told Fortune Magazine that he'd been talking to some friends at a pig roast (you've never had one?), and it bugged him that they didn't like to think about live pigs while they ate delicious pork. So Zuckerberg, having experienced slightly negative feelings towards this attitude, decided he'd like to spend the next year doing his best Ted Nugent impression, standing around knee-deep in animal carcasses every time he felt a bit peckish.Later on that year, just for laughs, Zuck mounted the head of a bison he'd killed on the wall of the Facebook office. At least he didn't pull a "GoDaddy CEO" and actually film himself hacking up a wild elephant. Cause, you know, their meat's all stringy.
Zuckerberg Sweats Privacy Questions. Profusely.
At the 2010 D8 technology conference, Zuckerberg had kind of a bad night. A grilling on stage from Wall Street Journal reporters Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher left him flustered and visibly frustrated. (Not to mention kind of gross and sweaty, a fact mentioned in pretty much every report or blog post about the event. Seriously, look them up. It was so bad, several in the press dubbed it a "Nixon moment.")
He seemed unable to answer basic questions about privacy on Facebook without rambling and jumping back to vague talking points. He also seemed to concede at times that Facebook's default settings were not determined with the users in mind, and that people would be wise to review them personally. The post-interview reviewers were brutal.
As if all that weren't bad enough, during the interview, Zuckerberg removed his sweatshirt, revealing a strange insignia inside. Here it is:
Upon seeing the symbol, Swisher declared that it looked like Zuckerberg was in a cult. More likely, it's just an internal Facebook design representing the site's mission statement or some other inside reference. Of they believe the Dark Lord Xenu is coming to Earth and is really really going to need to know when everyone's birthday is. One of those.
National Lampoon's Uruguayan Vacation
In early 2012, Zuckerberg, his girlfriend and some other friends headed South to Punta del Este, a resort town on Uruguay's southeastern coast. Before heading down there for some quality R&R, Zuckerberg made some rather outlandish demands of the owner of the house he'd be renting. (Bear in mind, Zuckerberg and his friends would be staying in this house less than a week.)
- Everything in the house had to be scrubbed with "special chemicals"
- All the homes furniture had to be removed and replaced
- Cooks, maids and other servants were hired at essentially a 1-to-1 ratio - a servant for each guest. Even Downton Abbey can't boast that kind of luxury. (Well, there is a war on. Guess we'll have to do with just 2 footmen.)
- No pets anywhere on the property
Zuckerberg on SNL
After the release of "Social Network," the film's star Jesse Eisenberg hosted "Saturday Night Live." And the writers apparently thought, "what better way to kick off a comedy show than invite the weird billionaire kid to confront his movie doppelganger live on the air!" This, as it turns out, was an even more brilliant strategy than putting Horatio Sanz and Jimmy Fallon together in every sketch for 8 years even though they couldn't be around each other for more than 8 seconds without giggling. Jim Downey, you mad genius.Anyway, watch the above clip if you want to see what a pasty white guy with no acting or performing ability and a hooded sweartshirt with the sleeves rolled up looks like flailing around on live TV. Personally, I might go make a sandwich and wait for them to bring out the musical act and... oh, crap, what do you mean it's Coldplay? Forget it, I'm just going to bed.