Thursday, February 01, 2024
By
Web Desk

Mark Zuckerberg apologises to online exploitation victims' parents at Senate hearing

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Zuckerberg that he had "blood on his hands"

By
Web Desk
Metas CEO Mark Zuckerberg looks on during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online child sexual exploitation at the US Capitol, in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. — Reuters
Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg looks on during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online child sexual exploitation at the US Capitol, in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. — Reuters

Meta Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg apologised to families of children harmed by social media use during a heated United States Senate Judiciary hearing Wednesday at Capitol Hill.

The apology came as Zuckerberg, whose firm owns social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, answered questions at the hearing that focused on child sexual exploitation online.

The hearing was also attended by CEOs from Discord, Snapchat, X and TikTok, and featured a video of children speaking about their experiences with online bullying, abuse and more, CBS News reported.

Committee chair Dick Durbin bashed the platforms for failing to protect children, while Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Zuckerberg that he had "blood on his hands" from a "product that's killing people."

Families also attended the hearing, some holding signs sharing their children's stories.

When Zuckerberg was asked by Republican Senator Josh Hawley if he would like to apologise to victims harmed by his product, the tech billionaire addressed families in attendance directly.

Metas CEO Mark Zuckerberg stands and faces the audience as he testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online child sexual exploitation at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. — Reuters
Meta's CEO Mark Zuckerberg stands and faces the audience as he testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on online child sexual exploitation at the US Capitol in Washington, US, January 31, 2024. — Reuters

"I'm sorry for everything you have all been through," Zuckerberg said. "No one should go through the things that your families have suffered and this is why we invest so much and we are going to continue doing industry-wide efforts to make sure no one has to go through the things your families have had to suffer."

Zuckerberg and other social media CEOs touted their child safety procedures online. Meta has previously said that it has spent $5 billion on safety and security in 2023.

Facebook and Twitter CEOs have pledged to collaborate with lawmakers, parents, nonprofits, and law enforcement to protect minors, despite a suggestion from Hawley to establish a victim's compensation fund.

The Senate hearing is part of a push to pass legislation to curb the spread of child sexual abuse images and hold technology platforms accountable.