Leaders of the tech industry were summoned by the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify in front of Congress Wednesday, pressed on how safe their platforms are for children.
First-time Congress testers like X CEO Linda Yaccarino, Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel and Discord CEO Jason Citron joined seasoned figures like Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.
The leaders faced a bipartisan thrashing that lasted just under four hours. The audience included family members of victims.
“You have blood on your hands,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told the tech leaders during his opening remarks.
Regulatory efforts against platforms in the U.S. have intensified, fueled by parental anxieties about the dissemination of child abuse content on social media and the perceived inadequacy of platforms in ensuring children’s safety.
Despite their renewed fury at CEOs, lawmakers spent much of the hearing pressing the tech leaders to support legislation to regulate social media. However, the outcome of the hearing remains uncertain, and the progress of the proposed bills remains elusive.
Here are some of the key moments.
‘I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,’ – Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg
In an unusual moment during the testimony, Zuckerberg—who perhaps faced the most grilling questions—apologized directly to the families of children who were victims of sexual exploitation and suicide perpetuated by Instagram. This followed Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) pressing him on whether he’d directly apologize to the parents in the audience who stood with pictures of their kids.
“I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,” said Zuckerberg.
In response to questions targeted at all tech execs, Zuckerberg told senators that Meta had 40,000 people working in its trust and safety division.
‘Mr. Zuckerberg, what the hell were you thinking?’ – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Hammering Zuckerberg over an Instagram feature that warns users that the content they’re looking for contains child abuse material with an option to “See results anyway,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) questioned Meta boss on why the platform would include such an option.