Mark Zuckerberg was merely wearing a clever, creamy disguise when he was photographed last year slathered in ungodly amounts of sunscreen while surfing in Hawaii, at least according to Mark Zuckerberg.
The now-infamous photo, published by a paparazzo with the agency Mega, captured the Facebook CEO staring at the camera with the soulless gaze and unsettling skin tone of a revenant—albeit one with a disturbingly juicy ass. Zuckerberg, predictably enough, goes to extreme lengths to keep his private life offline and out of the purview of random internet punters, and the photograph frankly comes off as a window into his soul, so of course, it went viral.
During an Instagram Live discussion with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri on Tuesday, the topic of the unfortunate visual came up. Zuckerberg has previously conceded that he was perhaps wearing too much sunscreen, but on Tuesday, he claimed that he suspected he was being trailed by paparazzi while on an e-foiling expedition. So he concluded he would perhaps be unrecognizable if he just made himself slightly whiter, which of course he was not. (If anything, he was more recognizable.)
Mosseri mentioned that it was quite hot out in Hawaii when Zuckerberg was photographed, to which the CEO responded, “Well, it’s actually, it’s even more extreme than that. I, I had sunscreen on. I mean, when, you know, I’m a pretty pale person, so if I’m out in Hawaii, it’s pretty strong there, and I’m gonna get burnt. And I wanna, you know, stay healthy.”
“So I do it,” Zuckerberg continued. “But in that particular case, I um, I was just kind of fooling around, and um, and then... I noticed there was this paparazzi guy following us. So I was like, ‘oh, I don’t want him to recognize me, so you know what I’m going to do? I’m just going to put on a ton of sunscreen on my face, and so he won’t know who I am.’”
“But that, um, that backfired,” he concluded. “That really, I really should have thought that one through more.”
“So instead, he took these photos, and it’s like, what is this guy doing? And it’s like, yeah no, that’s fair,” Zuckerberg added.. “...The delta between how cool you think you look and like, kind of the worst photo a paparazzi or someone can take is pretty funny. I just want to have a sense of humor about this stuff. It’s all good.”
“... Well, I’m glad you can laugh about it,” Mosseri told his boss. “I’m not sure I’d be as big a man as you, as you have been.”
Zuckerberg responded that “There’s been a lot worse about me,” which is sort of an understatement.
So there you have it: One of the world’s richest men, and the head of arguably its most invasive social network, dove facefirst into a vat of sunscreen in an attempt to ditch some lucky rube with a camera. It didn’t work. Meritocracy is definitely a thing that really exists, you know?