Social media CEOs apologize to victim families for harm experienced online
A contentious congressional hearing on Wednesday saw a unanimous push for regulations on social media specifically related to children.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley - R-MO - pushed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to apologize to families of child victims over social media that caused exploitation, harm, and death.
The CEOs of Meta, X - formerly Twitter, TikTok, Discord, and Snap testified at the hearing. Zuckerberg and Snap's CEO Evan Spiegel gave apologies for the first time after Hawley put them on the spot.
"Would you like to do so now? Well, they're here, you're on national television," said Hawley. "Would you like now to apologize to the victims who have been harmed by your products? Show them the pictures. Would you like to apologize for what you've done to these good people?"
Zuckerberg turned and stood and faced the audience and said "I'm sorry for everything you have all been through. No one should go through the things that your families have suffered and this is why we invest so much, and we are going to continue doing industrywide efforts to make sure no one has to go through the things your families have had to suffer."
Some victims' families have said although they were surprised, they didn't think the apologies sounded sincere.
Members of Congress said they hoped to find common ground to create laws that would make the Internet a safer place. Senators including Sen. Jon Ossoff - D-GA - repeatedly asked the social media tycoons to consider the victims and recognize the risks of being online.
"We want to work in a productive, open, honest, and collaborative way to pass legislation that will protect American children above all," said Ossoff. "If we don't start with an open, honest, candid, realistic assessment of the issues, we can't do that if you're not willing to acknowledge the internet is a dangerous place for children."
Earlier this week, explicit deep-fake Artificial Intelligence images of pop icon Taylor Swift were also released on X.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced that legislation would be the obvious way to remedy this type of offense.
The Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.