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‘It’s Terrible’: Meta’s Zuckerberg Apologizes To Families Of Online Child Abuse Victims At Senate Hearing

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Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META) apologized on Wednesday to the families of children who were victims of abuse on social media platforms after being told by a senator “you have blood on your hands.”

The bosses of several social media groups, also including Linda Yaccarino of X — formally Twitter — and Evan Spiegel of Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP), attended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing three months after a whistleblower at Meta told Congress that Instagram was not doing enough to protect young people from online harassment.

Families of victims — some of whom killed themselves after being sexually exploited online — were present to hear the testimony.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Zuckerberg he had blood on his hands, while Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) invited the Facebook owner to apologize to the families present.

Zuckerberg turned to the parents and said: “It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered.”

“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 things your families have had to suffer,” he added.

Also Read: ‘We Stay The Course On Meta And Amazon’: Analysts Preview Tech Earnings

‘Inflection Point’ In Online Abuse

Reported incidents of online enticement more than doubled in 2023 from the previous year, according to data from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The organization’s CEO Michelle DeLaune warned Congress that threats against children had reached an “inflection point.”

She noted increasing cases of “sextortion,” where a child is threatened or blackmailed by someone who says they’ll share explicit pictures depicting the child.

“The majority of tech companies have not made even minimal efforts to combat child sexual exploitation on their platforms,” DeLaune said.

She added: “And even those who have engaged in voluntary initiatives, including some companies testifying today, have fallen far short of implementing solutions that significantly protect children from harm.”

‘Crisis In America’

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