Mark Zuckerberg leaned into his reputation of being something of a singular fellow with rather eccentric and niche pursuits to display his love for America on July 4th.
The Facebook billionaire posted a short video to his official Instagram account of himself riding a hydrofoil surfboard while carrying the Stars the Stripes all the to the tune of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
After much discussion of whether the video was deep fake (it’s seemingly not) the conversation on social media moved to the “wtf” stage before settling on mockery and a cudgel to show how out-of-touch billionaires like Zuckerberg are.
Actor John Cusack echoed many of the responses when he remarked that Zuckerberg parading the flag had become a “symbol of the right for oligarchs not to pay tax.” Twitter users had zeroed in on the cost of a hydrofoil surfboard, prices for which typically start at over $12,000 and can be as high as $22,000.
BuzzFeed and future New York Times tech journalist Ryan Mac tweeted, “Facebook’s PR team spent years trying to craft Zuckerberg’s image, which is funny because the strategy now seems to be “let the dude let his freak flag fly”.
Mac was referencing reporting, such as a story from May by The Information, of Facebook’s PR machine curating their boss’ public persona as part of a strategy to repair the company’s image that had been battered by years of privacy scandals, monopoly concerns, and the spread of disinformation around politics and COVID-19.
Many prominent journalists and commentators linked the video to Zuckerberg’s previous rather oddball social media output and snippets of information into his private life. Users recalled the “Sweet Baby Ray’s” video of the tech titan grilling in his backyard and some reposted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s incredible story about going to dinner at his Facebook counterpart’s house and being served cold goat that Zuckerberg had hunted and killed with a “laser gun.”
The flag as a symbol of the right for oligarchs not to pay tax – https://t.co/UA2n6T50I2
— John Cusack (@johncusack) July 5, 2021
The ocean: Billionaires: pic.twitter.com/dkvr2R4eXs
— Zack Bornstein (@ZackBornstein) July 4, 2021
mark zuckerberg was a perv creep who made a site so he could rate girls in his dorm and now he’s one of the world’s most powerful tech billionaires who regularly puts out videos desperately trying to seem human so he can run for president one day. gotta love late stage capitalism
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) July 4, 2021
love to see billionaires enjoying the great outdoors. can you imagine you’re skiing, and you look to your right on the chairlift and its freaking mark zuckerberg? i know EXACTLY what i would do! pic.twitter.com/ymg0rdrP25
— mike ginn (@shutupmikeginn) July 4, 2021
I often tell myself that I don’t believe in communist revolution but then I see something like the Mark Zuckerberg 4th of July wakeboarding video and I start thinking things like ‘Aux armes, citoyens’
— Kevin Power (@KevPow3) July 4, 2021
When you’re the billionaire not flying to space so you go all in on America https://t.co/cgW3wS1LHz
— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) July 4, 2021
Facebook’s PR team spent years trying to craft Zuckerberg’s image, which is funny because the strategy now seems to be “let the dude let his freak flag fly” https://t.co/XwFKJuUeZS
— Ryan Mac🙃 (@RMac18) July 4, 2021
Mark Zuckerberg is trying to act human again. pic.twitter.com/7r1odNfN2v
— Christopher Wylie 🏳️🌈 (@chrisinsilico) July 4, 2021
How it started How its going pic.twitter.com/aEB6gQu1yb
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) July 4, 2021
You (Zuckerberg) have:
—Perverted our elections;
—Depressed American teens; and
—Made discourse more coarse.
Bitch, you should never hold a US flag. https://t.co/dskELCqSQD
— Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) July 5, 2021