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Mark Zuckerberg says he smeared himself in sunscreen as a disguise to avoid paparazzi. He failed, and the photo went viral.

  • Mark Zuckerberg has once again addressed the photo of him surfing with tons of sunscreen on his face.
  • He said in an Instagram Live chat Wednesday that he was trying to disguise himself from paparazzi.
  • “That is just way too much sunscreen. No one needs to be wearing that much sunscreen,” Zuckerberg said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday described why he was photographed surfing in Hawaii with a layer of sunscreen all over his face.

The photo went viral in July 2020, and Zuckerberg was compared to The Joker, Queen Elizabeth I, and Mrs Doubtfire.

The Facebook CEO said on Wednesday in an Instagram Live chat with Instagram boss Adam Mosseri that the sunscreen was a failed attempt to disguise himself from paparazzi.

“I noticed there was this paparazzi guy following us and, so I was like, ‘Oh I don’t want him to recognize me, so you know what I’m gonna do? I’m just gonna put a ton of sunscreen on my face,'” Zuckerberg said.

“And that backfired.”

The viral photo surfaced in July last year when Zuckerberg went on vacation to Hawaii with his family. The 36-year-old billionaire was photographed riding a Lift Foils efoil electric surfboard with a face full of sunscreen.

“I really should have thought that one through more,” he added. “That is just way too much sunscreen. No one needs to be wearing that much sunscreen.” 

Zuckerberg, who said he was “a pretty pale person,” was likely wearing a zinc oxide-based sunscreen, which doesn’t soak into the skin.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg outlined new tools Instagram is building to help creators make money

Zuckerberg remained laid-back about being the butt of jokes. “If someone wants to post a sunscreen meme, it’s cool. I’m happy to give the internet some laughs,” he said. “I laugh about it and I think it’s pretty funny.”

When Zuckerberg first addressed the widespread meme in July, he said that “sunscreen is good and I stand behind that.”

“I’m not a person who’s under the illusion that I look particularly cool at any point with what I’m doing,” he added.

It’s not his favorite meme about himself, though: that honor goes to a now-infamous, 32-minute long Facebook Live video from 2016 where he publicly and repeatedly professed his love for grilling meats.

Zuckerberg is based in California, but owns several properties in Hawaii, collectively valued at over $100 million.


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