This week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared before a Senate committee hearing called “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis” to get grilled by lawmakers about his company’s role in allegedly harming young users. The hearing did not go well for Zuckerberg — to put it lightly. One Senator, Lindsey Graham, accused Facebook of having “blood on its hands,” while Senator Josh Hawley created a jaw-dropping moment by asking Zuckerberg to apologize to victims in the room.
“I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,” Zuckerberg said after Hawley asked him to apologize, standing and facing the audience. “No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered, and this is why we invested so much and are going to continue doing industry-leading efforts to make sure that no one has to go through the types of things that your families had to suffer.”
Hawley then pressed Zuckerberg on if he planned on creating a compensation fund for victims, and Zuckerberg stammered before ultimately not responding.
While Zuckerberg likely knew he would be ruthlessly interrogated by these lawmakers, this is still terrible press for a company already facing dozens of lawsuits around the country for its treatment of children. However, maybe his apology is a signal that the company will finally take substantial steps to address this urgent problem.
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