Social media companies are under fire for the insane impact that they are having on kids.
Young people are targeted and exploited online by more than predators —but by the platforms themselves.
And Mark Zuckerberg was just forced to make a very uncomfortable apology to the families of victims.
Ted Cruz reminds Mark Zuckerberg of the horror that exists on his sites
Social media platforms are becoming increasingly dangerous for children and Congress is trying to figure out the solution.
That’s why Congressional Republicans called Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in late January.
During the public hearing, Senators grilled the Meta CEO over mental health outcomes and the predatory activity that is happening on his platforms Instagram and Facebook.
When it was time for Ted Cruz to question Zuckerberg, he pulled no punches.
Cruz cited a previous report by the Wall Street Journal that suggested Instagram’s algorithm is “actively connecting pedophile accounts that were advertising the sale of child sexual abuse materials” to people seeking out the materials.
The accounts were disguised as underage children and featured secret code words and emojis to signal what they provided.
Research accounts “flooded” with “content that sexualizes children”
The Wall Street Journal report published findings of an investigation by Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Investigators revealed that Instagram was allowing hashtags and keywords like “pedowhore” and “preteensex” to trend and be tagged to these materials.
The research also showed that if anyone interacted with an account that was promoting images and videos with these hashtags, then they would quickly be recommended more accounts with child abuse materials.
The study set up “test accounts” to show this outcome.
“Following just a handful of these recommendations was enough to flood a test account with content that sexualizes children,” the Wall Street Journal said.
The accounts posting the material often included “menus” of content that included pricing and “imagery of the minor performing sexual acts.”
Meta has since taken down over 24 pedophile networks on their platforms and claims to have a plan to remove more.
“Child exploitation is a horrific crime,” a representative said in the wake of the report.
“We’re continuously investigating ways to actively defend against this behavior,” they added.
But that doesn’t erase the pain that the victims and their families experienced.
And Missouri Senator Josh Hawley isn’t going to let Zuckerberg forget about them.
Apology “didn’t really mean anything”
When it came time for Hawley to question the Meta CEO, he put him in his place.
Reminding Zuckerberg that there are countless victims from the exploitation that he let occur on his sites, the Senator asked “would you like to apologize for what you’ve done to these good people?”
Zuckerberg hesitated to stand, but he had no choice once parents began standing and holding up images of their children.
Turning to the audience, Zuckerberg issued his first direct apology to the families of these victims.
“I’m sorry for everything you’ve all gone through. It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered,” he said.
Sen. Josh Hawley makes Mark Zuckerberg apologize to the families who've been affected by META. pic.twitter.com/KDkuci0Vkm
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 31, 2024
One of the mothers responded in an interview on Fox News after the testimony.
Rosa Bronstein’s son, Nate, was one such victim who committed suicide after experiencing abuse on the platform.
“Based on the deflection and the denial coming from the CEOs who sat there to testify, at this point legislation needs to be put in place to hold these CEOs accountable,” she said.
Teen suicide victim’s mom says Mark Zuckerberg is full of it. pic.twitter.com/vsDTFPh1xn
— Jack Straw (@JackStr42679640) January 31, 2024
Bronstein added that she thought the apology “really didn’t mean anything” at all.
Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.