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

Mark zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Charles Platiau/Reuters
  • Mark Zuckerberg has 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,” he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

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

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

-New York Post (@nypost) July 19, 2020

The Facebook CEO said in an Instagram Live chat on Wednesday with the 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 going to do? I’m just going to put a ton of sunscreen on my face,'” Zuckerberg said.

“And that backfired.”

The viral photo surfaced in July 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 most 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 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 Facebook Live video from 2016 in which 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.