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Zuckerberg apologizes to parents of victims of social media abuse

Zuckerberg apologizes to parents of victims of social media abuse Mark Zuckerberg at the Senate hearings (Getty Images)

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is in charge of Instagram and Facebook, personally apologized to parents and families of children who had died because of issues related to social media. It happened at U.S. Senate hearings organized to question bosses of big tech companies about children's safety on the internet, according to BBC and The Washington Post.

After Senator Josh Hawley asked Zuckerberg if he had apologized to the victims, Meta chief turned around and stood up.

“I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,” Zuckerberg said. “No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered, and this is why we invested so much and are going to continue doing industry-leading efforts to make sure that no one has to go through the types of things that your families had to suffer.”

The families present were part of a group called Parents for Safe Online Spaces. As Zuckerberg spoke, they showed framed photos of their children who had died. Families linked the deaths of their loved ones with social media, flooded with cyberbullying, posts leading to suicide, romanticizing drugs, and participation in dangerous challenges online.

Big tech hearing

Zuckerberg is one of five tech executives ruling the biggest social media platforms, including TikTok, Snap, X, and Discord, who attended the meeting on January 31. Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew agreed to talk willingly, but the leaders of Snap, X, and Discord initially said no. So, the government officially asked them to come by sending subpoenas.

The focus was mainly on spreading child sexual abuse material, cyberbullying, body-image issues, grooming, drugs, and suicide, provoked by social media.

Meta is earning from children

Instagram with $801.1 million and Facebook with $137.2 million have second and third places respectively among companies with the highest last year advertising revenue from U.S. users aged 12 and below. According to a Harvard study, YouTube tops the list with $959.1 million.