In a now-viral moment, Facebook founder and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to the families of people who had experienced child sexual exploitation on his social media platforms during a Senate hearing.
During a contentious exchange, Senator Josh Hawley accused Zuckerberg of not firing any Meta employees who allowed exploitation to take place on his apps.
“No one should have to go through the things your families have suffered,” Zuckerberg could be heard saying after he had risen from his seat and faced the families gathered behind him. Hawley (R-MO), a committed opponent of Big Tech from a conservative perspective, had aggressively called for the apology as part of a long, planned berating of the tech executive during his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
NEW: Josh Hawley goes off on Mark Zuckerberg and forces him to stand up, turn around and apologize to families who were impacted by child exploitation on META platforms.
"You didn't take any action. You didn't fire anybody."
"There's families of victims here… pic.twitter.com/YqRfWRVSlk
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) January 31, 2024
Zuckerberg continued: “This is why we have invested so much and are going to continue industry-leading efforts to make sure that no one has to go through the types of things your families have suffered.”
Hawley had also asked Zuckerberg if Meta would give reparations to the victims of sexual exploitation through his social platforms. “Don’t you think they deserve some compensation for what your platform has done?” Hawley asked. “Help with counseling services, help with dealing with the issues that your services cause?”
“Our job is to make sure that we build tools to help keep people safe,” Zuckerberg replied. When pressed again on the matter, he repeated: “Senator, our job and what we take seriously is making sure that we build industry leading tools to find harmful—”
Hawley cut him off: “…To make money.”
CEOs of virtually every social media company were present, including TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew. Chew was questioned repeatedly by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) if he was Chinese, if he lived in China, and if he had any connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).