Friday, February 23, 2024

Mark Zuckerberg accused of having

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and four other social media company executives were chastised by lawmakers during a congressional hearing Wednesday for not doing enough to protect children online.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing opened with videos of people describing being sexually exploited on Facebook, Instagram and X, with Sen. Lindsey Graham telling Zuckerberg he had “blood on his hands.”

“You have a product that is killing people,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said, drawing applause and cheers from many in the hearing.

The committee’s chairman, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, also criticized social media platforms for their failure to protect children from online sexual exploitation.

“Discord was used to seduce, kidnap and abuse children. Meta’s Instagram helped connect and promote a pedophile ring; missing Snapchat messages were co-opted by criminals who engage in financial sextortion young victims,” Durbin said in his opening statement.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, testifying during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on January 31, 2024, in Washington, DC, apologizes to families who say their children were harmed while using Facebook .

Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Starting with Discord’s Jason Citron, the CEOs all touted their child safety procedures and pledged to work with lawmakers, parents, nonprofits, and law enforcement to protect minors. Meta said it spent $5 billion on safety and security in 2023 alone, while TikTok said it planned to spend $2 billion in 2024 on the issue.

Challenged by Missouri Republican Josh Hawley to apologize to the victims in the room, Zuckerberg stood up, turned around, telling those sitting behind him that their experience That’s part of why Meta invested so much “to make sure no one had to go through the kinds of things your families had to go through.”

Zuckerberg refused to commit to Hawley’s suggestion to create a victims’ compensation fund.

The Meta leader has repeatedly refuted the link between Facebook and adolescent mental health, saying “it’s important to look at the science, and the majority don’t support it.” Later, speaking on the same topic, Zuckerberg said that “that doesn’t mean that individuals don’t have problems.”

TikTok diligently enforces its policy banning children under 13 from using its app, CEO Shou Zi Chew said. Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X (formerly Twitter), said her company does not cater to minors.

Chicago parents at Senate Judiciary hearing on social media safety


Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has apologized to parents whose children overdosed on fentanyl after purchasing drugs on Snapshot. “I am truly sorry that we were unable to prevent these tragedies,” said Spiegel, who added that Snap blocks drug-related search terms and works with law enforcement.

Children’s health advocates say social media companies have repeatedly failed to protect minors.

“When you’re faced with very important security and privacy decisions, net revenue should not be the first factor these companies consider,” said Zamaan Qureshi, co-president of Design It For Us, an organization led by young people. coalition advocating for safer social media. “These companies had the opportunity to do this before they failed, so independent regulation must come.”

Meta is being sued by dozens of states who say it deliberately designed features on Instagram and Facebook that got children addicted to its platforms and failed to protect them from online predators.

New internal emails between Meta executives released by Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office show Nick Clegg, president of global affairs, and others asking Zuckerberg to hire more people to boost “well-being overall of the company”, as concerns grow about the effects on the mental health of young people.

A growing number of lawmakers are calling for measures to curb the spread of images of child sexual abuse online and to hold technology platforms accountable for better protection of children. Wednesday’s session is part of an effort to pass legislation after years of congressional inaction in regulating social media companies.

Spiegel said during the hearing that he supports a federal bill to create legal accountability for apps and social platforms that recommend content that is harmful to minors.

Yaccarino also expressed support for the Stop CSAM Act, which would pave the way for victims of child exploitation to sue tech companies.

Rather than focusing on TikTok’s policies, some Republican lawmakers have accused Chew of sympathizing with China.

“Are you afraid of losing your job if you say something negative about the Chinese Communist Party? asked Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton of Chew, who was born and lives in Singapore but lived in China for five years.

–The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from



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