Josh Hawley Shames Mark Zuckerberg into Apologizing to Victims of Child Exploitation on Facebook, Instagram

Speaking at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to families negatively affected by his companies’ products after a grilling by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO).

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered an apology to parents at an online child safety hearing on Wednesday after being shamed into it by Sen. Josh Hawley, acknowledging the suffering caused by issues on the company’s platforms, particularly Instagram.

Sen. Hawley first lambasted Zuckerberg for taking little to no action to protect children on Facebook and Instagram, and then grilled him on why the billionaire and his company haven’t offered compensation to victims and their families.

Sen. Hawley then changed tactics. He said:

There are families of victims here today. Have you apologized to victims? Would you to do so now? They’re here, you are on national victims. Would you like now to apologize to victims who have been harmed by your products? Show him the pictures. Would you like to apologize to these good people?

“I’m sorry for everything you’ve all gone through,” Zuckerberg said at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis.” He added, “It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered.”

The parents Zuckerberg addressed have claimed that social media, particularly Instagram, contributed to their children’s suicide or exploitation. Many wore blue ribbons reading “STOP Online Harms! Pass KOSA!” — a reference to proposed legislation aimed at enhancing protections for kids online.

Zuckerberg faced intense scrutiny from the parents and lawmakers over Meta’s record on protecting minors on its platforms. “This is why we invest 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 have had to suffer,” Zuckerberg said.

The Facebook founder testified along with heads of TikTok, Discord, X/Twitter, and Snap at the hearing. Lawmakers pushed the executives on their companies’ practices and policies concerning child safety.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.

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