It’s been a wild few days for Mark Zuckerberg, the man behind Facebook and now Meta.
That’s because he was grilled alive by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee who held a hearing about social media safety last week.
In fact, all the social media bigwigs were there, including the CEOs of Snap, TikTok, X, and Discord.
The point was to get social media CEOs on the record to testify about the harms of social media on kids and to get their approval of a new bill called the Kids Online Safety Act.
In the back, parents of children who’ve died or suffered could be seen holding up pictures of their loved ones.
The scene was chaotic and a bit awkward.
While many see this hearing as a win for Republicans and Democrats who banded together to address something as obvious as child safety online, it came off as a bit of a circus act.
Many of the questions were disingenuous and vitriolic, used to drum up emotion and fear. Join Wealth Daily today for FREE. We’ll keep you on top of all the hottest investment ideas before they hit Wall Street. Become a member today, and get our latest free report: “How to Make Your Fortune in Stocks”
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Zuckerberg was asked if he would take personal responsibility for the children and families that have been harmed. He was even asked if he would compensate them with his own money.
It was basically the Senate committee yelling at the CEOs out of frustration. It also felt like they were showing off for the parents and using Zuck as a scapegoat for a systemic and societal issue.
And they barely let any of the CEOs answer any questions.
Now, Zuck’s no stranger to controversy, but this time you could visibly tell by the look on his face that he’s worried.
He even issued an awkward apology to the families on live TV.
He said, “I’m sorry for everything that you have all been through. It’s terrible and no one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered.” He added that the company’s investing in “industry-leading” efforts to research and combat these problems.
AL Jazeera reminded us of all about this:
This apology adds to a long list of apologies Zuckerberg has issued since he launched Facebook in 2004 when he was 19 years old.
Early after the website was launched, he mocked the 4,000 students who had joined Facebook, bragging to friends in text messages about the vast amount of personal information he had collected thanks to the misplaced trust of his users. Zuckerberg called them “dumb” and punctuated the word with profanity. In 2010, he apologized for his words.
Zuckerberg has also repeatedly apologized for concerns related to privacy and user data.
Zuckerberg is no stranger to controversy.
He quite literally stole the idea of Facebook. Everyone knows it despite his initial lies. He settled out of court, paid millions of dollars to his friends, and ran away with the company.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, Zucky.
So if Facebook was founded in an unethical way, it only tracks that it’s being run in an unethical way.
That won’t change, so we need government intervention through the bill that the Senate is trying to pass.
Zuck constantly says that social media is built for the greater good and that it brings people together, but time and time again we see that’s just not true. And when you further allow your company to be manipulated by the federal government for election purposes, well, you’ve just sold your company up the river.
Needless to say, I’m not the first person to rush in to defend Zuck. But the more I listened to the hearing, the more I felt like someone’s got to stick up for this guy.
In a lot of ways, it’s not Zuck’s fault. In its original form, Facebook was meant to connect Ivy League college students. It then expanded to all colleges, and that’s when it was in its prime.
However, once the ads started rollin’ in and you saw grandma commenting on your pictures from a wild night, well, it was time to toss it in the trash.
We act like social media is a necessity, like it’s a utility. Literally none of us needs to use it. We choose to use social media. Yes, it’s addictive and, as an old colleague of mine used to say, it should come with a Surgeon General’s warning — but who’s really to blame?
Children should not be using social media in the first place, just like they shouldn’t be drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
It needs to be severely restricted.
Ah, but that won’t bode well for Zuck’s media empire of ads.
Here’s an idea… If you don’t like Facebook or Zuckerberg, don’t use his platform.
Remember, you vote with your money, time, and attention.
Every time you use Facebook or Instagram, you’re giving Zuck money.
Every time you’re about to doom scroll through your feed, why not open a book?
I kicked social media out of my life years ago now, and I legitimately don’t miss it at all and can’t imagine going back.
It was great in college, but now I guess I just don’t care.
I don’t know, maybe I’m weird, but I’ve got way better things to do with my time then waste it online.
If I need social interaction, I can go do a hobby. I try to cultivate relationships with those around me and give people phone calls — remember those? — instead of a DM on Instagram.
So, look, instead of blaming Zuck for all these problems, maybe the Senate committee needs to understand why people are so hell bent on using social media in the first place. There are deeper societal problems at play here.
Maybe if people were content with their current lives, they wouldn’t feel the need to post everything online to strangers.
And again, children should not be using social media unless it’s an account run and supervised by the parents. But even then, I just don’t see a need for one unless you’re in college, plain and simple.
After the mauling, Zuck retreated to his million-dollar home and is still licking his wounds.
One last thing, and this is important…
You don’t need social media to survive, but it needs you to survive.
Stay frosty, Alexander Boulden After Alexander’s passion for economics and investing drew him to one of the largest financial publishers in the world, where he rubbed elbows with former Chicago Board Options Exchange floor traders, Wall Street hedge fund managers, and International Monetary Fund analysts, he decided to take up the pen and guide others through this new age of investing. Alexander is the investment director of Insider Stakeout — a weekly investment advisory service dedicated to tracking the smartest money on the planet so that his readers can achieve life-altering, market-beating returns. He also serves at the managing editor for R.I.C.H. Report, a comprehensive service that uses the highest-quality investment research and strategies that guides its members in growing their wealth on top of preserving it.
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Editor, Wealth Daily