+
upworthy
Democracy

Mark Zuckerberg makes stunning apology to parents during Congressional testimony

"I'm sorry for everything you have all been through."

mark zuckerberg, senate hearing, child safety online

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Senators grilled the top executives from TikTok, Meta, X, Discord and Snapchat on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing about the impact of social media on children. The hearing examined child sexual exploitation online and featured the testimony of children who have suffered abuse and bullying online.

The hearing was a rare time when Republicans and Democrats fought on the same side of an important issue.

"Elizabeth [Warren] and I see an abuse here that needs to be dealt with,” Republican Senator Lindsay Graham told the committee. “Senator Durbin and I have different political philosophies, but I appreciate what you've done on this committee. You've been a great partner. To all my Democratic colleagues, thank you very, very much. To my Republican colleagues, thank you all very, very much.”


“There is pretty clearly a bipartisan consensus that the status quo isn’t working,” New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez told the hearing. “When it comes to how these companies have failed to prioritize the safety of children, there’s clearly a sense of frustration on both sides of the aisle.”

During the hearing, Senator Graham highlighted the story of South Carolina State House Rep. Brandon Guffey, whose son died by suicide after being a victim of sexual extortion.

When asked if he had any response to the victims whom his products have harmed, Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was apologetic.

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

At one point, Zuckerberg stood up and faced a group of parents who were holding pictures of their children who were victims of online harassment.

We’re dealing with a fundamental decision as to whether social media companies should be able to face lawsuits like any other company in America. 

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin was clear that he believes social media companies are a significant cause of many of the problems facing America’s youth. “They’re responsible for many of the dangers our children face online,” Durbin said in his opening statements. “Their design choices, their failures to adequately invest in trust and safety, their constant pursuit of engagement and profit over basic safety have all put our kids and grandkids at risk.”

The tech CEOs continuously touted their companies’ online safety features throughout the hearing. Zuckerberg noted that Meta spent $5 billion on security and safety in 2023.

Graham suggested that Congress work to repeal Section 230 which would give social media companies greater accountability. The federal law protects social media companies from being responsible for lawsuits arising from user-generated content.

“You have a product that’s killing people ... You can’t be sued, you should be!” Graham said. “It is now time to repeal Section 230.”

The purpose of the hearing was to work toward legislation that would make social media safer for young people. But it’s unclear whether the hearings will result in anything meaningful.

This could be the guest house.


Inequality has gotten worse than you think.

An investigation by former "Daily Show" correspondent Hasan Minhaj is still perfectly apt and shows that the problem isn't just your classic case of "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

Keep ReadingShow less
Kevin Parry / Twitter

Toronto-based animator and video wizard Kevin Parry has gone mega-viral for his mind-boggling collection of videos where he turns himself into random objects.

In a series of quick clips he changes into everything from a pumpkin to a bright yellow banana and in most of the videos, he appears to suffer a ridiculous death. The videos combine studio trickery with a magician's flair.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.

Keep ReadingShow less

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
OriginalAll photos belong to Red Méthot, who gave me permission to share them here.

Chloé was born at 32 weeks.


Every single day, babies across the world are born prematurely, which means that they're born before 37 weeks of gestation.

In Canada, about 29,000 infants are born prematurely each year, roughly 1 in every 13. But in the United States, around 400,000 to 500,000 are born early. That's about 1 in every 8 to 10 babies born in the U.S.!

Red Méthot, a Canadian photographer and student, decided to capture the resilience of many of these kids for a school photography project.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Teacher tries to simulate a dictatorship in her classroom, but the students crushed her

"I’ve done this experiment numerous times, and each year I have similar results. This year, however, was different."

Each year that I teach the book "1984" I turn my classroom into a totalitarian regime under the guise of the "common good."

I run a simulation in which I become a dictator. I tell my students that in order to battle "Senioritis," the teachers and admin have adapted an evidence-based strategy, a strategy that has "been implemented in many schools throughout the country and has had immense success." I hang posters with motivational quotes and falsified statistics, and provide a false narrative for the problem that is "Senioritis."

Keep ReadingShow less