Shauna Dillavou, the founder of Security Positive, a cyber-security consulting firm, had been on line since about 11am EST to get a seat. “I’ve seen how these tools can threaten people’s lives,” she said, and Facebook seems to have “zero concern about it.” The company’s internal vetting isn’t working, she said, and it doesn’t seem to be taking responsibility for what’s happening on the ground. “I’m here to see what grandma and grandpa can do about it,” she said, referring to the Senate Committee.

“I want to see them make their code open source. I want to seem him take responsibility.” Above all, Dillavou said, she wants to see less “bullshit,” on everything from how people get data from their app to how diverse their staff actually is.

The moment has focused the world’s attention because it could represent a historical turning point.

Zuckerberg is the richest American under 40

With a net worth of over $60 billion, Zuckerberg is the richest American under the age of 40, and the nation’s fourth-richest individual. His rise from college-dropout to leading one of the world’s most powerful information companies over the past decade is one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful creation myths—and the company’s failure to stop the abuse on its platform is one of the industry’s biggest black marks.

America has failed to regulate its technology giants as they grew, and what lawmakers decide after this week’s hearings about Facebook’s future could impact what happens to Google, Amazon, and the tech industry in the US overall, which dominates communications and information sharing around the world.

A more fundamental question looms: Will the deeply-fractured US political system hold Russia accountable for the damage it may have done to its democracy during the last presidential election? The Facebook hearing comes after months of investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and an aborted attempt by the House, which closed its own probe after declaring an investigation impossible because of political divides.

Chris Chaffee, a homebuilder from Maryland with a brush cut mustache who was wearing in navy suit and an American flag pin, stood in line with other members of the public waiting to hear what Zuckerberg had to say. “We want to know what’s next,” he said. Above all, he said “we want to keep the government out of Facebook,” he said. “I want to know what he knows, and what the Obama administration knew,” he said. “I don’t want to see Facebook destroyed,” he said. “I don’t think the Senate knows what it wants to do,” he added.

Hours before Zuckerberg took the stand, president Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter about the “Witch Hunt” he thinks the Russian investigation has become, after his personal lawyer’s office and home was raided on Monday by investigators. Trump is threatening to fire the FBI special counsel investigating Russia’s interference, a situation that would tip the US into a constitutional crisis, and set off hundreds of pre-planned protests across the country.

Complicating matters, the age of members of US Congress is among the oldest in history. Senators are, on average, 61 years old, and some people believe they may not be cognizant of how technology is used in the internet age. The committee’s Democratic chair Dianne Feinstein raised concerns about her ability to properly probe the situation this morning, after calling Zuckerberg a “nice young man.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly identified senator John Kennedy as hailing from Indiana, when he is from Louisiana.

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