Time had just chosen Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for their annual Person of the Year, and the honor did not escape the attention of NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live.’ SNL’s depiction of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – played by Bill Hader – brought late night viewers a brandy-sipping man who appeared to be enjoying his time away from a British jail. He also appreciated the differentiation between himself as the villain and Zuckerberg as the hero. The segment begins with a word from SNL’s Zuckerberg, who is seen as more than happy to discuss the Time Magazine award – in a televised broadcast that is promptly hacked by SNL’s WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“As you may have heard, I was released from a British prison on bail Thursday,” Assange said. “Tonight I want to congratulate Time Magazine on the excellent selection of Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year. Time Magazine – always on the cutting edge – discovering Facebook only weeks after your grandmother.” Mr. Assange was released on bail and plans to fight the Swedish rape allegations that have been levied against him, according to a time-line provided by The Guardian. Assange sees that matter as a smear campaign.
“What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? Let’s take a look,” SNL’s Assange continued. “I give you private information on corporations for free and I’m a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year.”
The differentiation is certainly timely, as Congress has begun debating the question of internet privacy. There’s potential for a privacy Bill of Rights to make it to law, while also considering how to prosecute WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act.