Watch Rose McGowan’s magnetic take on Mark Zuckerberg and data harvesting

The actor, filmmaker, author, and advocate recites the Facebook founder’s congress testimony

Rose McGowan’s public profile has undergone a seismic shift in the last few years. In 2017, McGowan came forward with allegations of rape leveled at disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – a revelation that helped galvanise the #MeToo movement and made the actor, director, and author a figurehead for survivors of sexual assault across the world.

Throughout the cultural wave change that demanded predators across Hollywood and other industries were held accountable for their actions, McGowan kicked back against the “cult-like” rules and expectations usually placed on her as a famous woman. “When you glitch their matrix, (people) freak the fuck out,” McGowan told Dazed back in 2018. “But it's okay to freak out, cause then you can reform. I just want people to be 10 per cent more conscious.”

Whether fiercely advocating for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights or on behalf of climate justice, McGowan continues to shout loud: “I think it’s important for people to know that they can go after the powerful and make them listen”, she tells Dazed, today. “There’s always a way, we just have to find it.”

In our latest installment of Dazed Texts, McGowan takes on the behemoth that is Facebook over its unscrupulous data sharing and privacy policies. The actor recites Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 testimony, which he delivered to Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Her performance is part of Dazed’s partnership with the #TOGETHERBAND, a campaign raising awareness for the United Nations' vital global goals, a total of 17 objectives – ranging from climate change to fighting inequality – that aim to make the world a better place by 2030. 

Previous Dazed Texts have seen Scandi-popstar Tove Stryke contemplate earth’s relationship with the ocean by reciting Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, and noise-rapper-slash-internet-troll JPEGMAFIA take on Ray Charles’ “Busted” in a rousing reflection on world poverty. 

For the month of August the goal is ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’, so we turn our attention to a tech giant whose continued abuse of power evades this very objective. McGowan’s performance glitches and gasps – at one point, it’s an animated sales pitch, mocking Zuckerberg’s glib assertion that “Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company”, sliding into the most unnervingly monotone, robotic statements, redolent of the tech CEO’s own deadpan delivery and what McGowan describes as his “alien discomfort”. 

“I wanted to explore both the farcical nature of the situation and extremely crafted dialogue,” McGowan explains.

I started Facebook, I run it and I’m responsible for what happens here,” McGowan recites at the most robotic crescendo, her performance rendering Zuckerberg’s sentiments utterly meaningless. The hearing is, as the actor points out, little more than a “charade… as if them scolding the head of Facebook is really going to do anything”. 

Facebook has, since that monumental hearing, continued its mission of data harvesting, leading a grim charge of tech companies scrabbling for all our personal info – from period trackers to dating apps, it’s right that we question the credibility of Zuckerberg’s testimony, and hold other institutions and corporations accountable for violations of peace and justice. 

Watch McGowan’s performance above.