On Wednesday, the CEOs of five of the country's most prominent social media companies sat before lawmakers in the Senate to be grilled on the impact their platforms are having on child safety in the United States.
While Meta‘s Mark Zuckerberg was the only one of the five chief executives to actually turn around and offer an apology to parents in the audience whose kids had been hurt by, or lost their lives as a result of, social media, many felt as though his words were not enough.
“I'm sorry for everything you've all gone through,” Zuckerberg said after Sen. Josh Hawley urged him to address the crowd of grieving parents. “It's terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered.”
He went on to let them know that, “this is why we [at Meta] invest 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 have had to suffer.”
Among those who were not satisfied with Zuckerberg's apology was Rose Bronstein, whose son, Nate, had killed himself at just 15 years old after being relentlessly cyber-bullied.
“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 in an interview with Fox News. “All they care about their profits.”
She went on to suggest that Mark Zuckerberg's apology “really didn't mean anything” because children are still getting hurt and dying, adding, “Whatever protections these CEOs are putting in place are not working.”
Bronstein said she believed Zuckerberg's apology was “spontaneous.”
During the hearing, the Meta CEO claimed that existing evidence showed “no causal link between using social media and young people having worse mental health outcomes.”
Bronstein countered that assertion by pointing to her own son's death and all the other families who lost loved ones as the result of cyber-bullying.
“Mark Zuckerberg is full of it,” she said. “How many more children have to die to prove that this is impacting their mental health?”