This week, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before a Senate committee to address child sexual exploitation on his platforms. And in a stunning moment, he was compelled to stand, face the audience, and apologize to victims of this exploitation who were in the room. This move took many Facebook observers by surprise — including Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, whose disclosures led to many of the lawsuits Facebook is currently facing for harming young users.
According to Haugen, Zuckerberg’s dramatic public apology could signal a change in how the company operates moving forward. By apologizing, Zuckerberg may be admitting Facebook will have to comply with the demands of lawmakers and advocates.
“That apology is a turning point because it’s the first time (Zuckerberg) had to actually visibly face the consequences of his choices,” Haugen said, noting that until now, he has not had to answer for leaked internal documents revealing he hindered steps to protect children on Facebook. “Mark had to confront today that he said those things, he did those actions, and now everyone knows.”
Facebook is a company known for never admitting its problems, so Zuckerberg’s admission was indeed startling. However, the dozens of cases against Facebook are just getting started in court, so time will tell if the company actually takes meaningful action.
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