The Meta-morphosis of Mark Zuckerberg

In the run-up to Meta’s first-quarter earnings report this week, a video image of Mark Zuckerberg suddenly started going viral.

Not because of the artificial intelligence assistant he was touting or because of the expected ad revenue growth, but because of the silver chain he was wearing around his neck.

“Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement about something Meta is doing with A.I., but I could not listen to or retain a second of it because when I look at the Reel of him talking, all I see is necklace,” Amy Odell wrote in her Substack, Back Row.

Mark Zuckerberg, with longer curls and a new chain necklace, in the Reel that went viral.Credit…Mark Zuckerberg

Later, a doctored version of the same picture with Mr. Zuckerberg sporting some scruffy facial hair got people even more excited. The 4,000-plus mostly drooling comments under an Instagram post from the celebrity news account The Shade Room included one from Gwyneth Paltrow, who compared Mr. Zuckerberg to her ex-husband, Chris Martin.

All of a sudden, it seems, people care a lot about how Mark Zuckerberg, 39, looks. At a time when the halcyon promise of technology has been cast in a darker, more suspicious light, the guy whose relentless allegiance to a gray T-shirt became synonymous with the nerd pledge to “move fast and break things” has somehow become the kinder, gentler face of technology.

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