‘It’s Terrible’: Meta’s Zuckerberg Apologizes to Families of Victims of Online Child Abuse During Senate Hearing – Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META), Snap (NYSE:SNAP)

Marco Zuckerbergfounder and CEO of Meta Platform Inc HALF apologized Wednesday to the families of children abused on social media platforms after a senator told him “you have blood on your hands.”

This also includes the heads of several social media groups Linda Yaccarino From X – formally Twitter – AND Evan Spiegel From Hurried Inc HURRYattended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing three months after a Meta whistleblower told Congress that Instagram wasn’t doing enough to protect young people from online harassment.

The families of the victims – some of whom killed themselves after being sexually exploited online – were present to hear testimony.

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

Zuckerberg turned to the parents and said: “This is terrible. No one should have to go through the things your families have suffered.”

“This is why we invest so much and will continue to make industry-leading efforts to ensure that no one has to go through the things your families have had to endure,” he added.

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“Inflection point” in online abuse

According to data from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, reported incidents of online solicitation more than doubled in 2023 compared to the previous year. The CEO of the organization Michelle DeLaune warned Congress that threats against children had reached a “tipping point.”

She has noticed an increase in cases of “sextortion,” in which a child is threatened or blackmailed by someone who says they want to share explicit images of them.

“Most tech companies have made no even minimal efforts to combat child sexual exploitation on their platforms,” DeLaune said.

He added: “And even those who have engaged in voluntary initiatives, including some companies testifying today, have failed to implement solutions that meaningfully protect children from harm.”

“Crisis in America”

Research conducted by the whistleblower Arturo Bejarwho previously worked as an engineer and consultant at Meta, became a central player in a lawsuit brought by the New Mexico attorney general Raúl Torrez. The lawsuit accuses Meta of failing to protect children from sexual harassment on her platform.

The president of the Committee, sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), said the online exploitation of children is a “crisis in America” fueled by the rapid development of technology that puts “powerful new tools” in the hands of sexual predators.

The assembled CEOs focused their responses primarily on ongoing initiatives to improve children’s online safety on social media platforms. Zuckerberg pointed out that Meta has introduced 30 new tools designed to safeguard young social media users.

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