The result of all Washington-Silicon Valley tech showdowns? Nothing.
The Washington Post
February 1, 2024 at 5:43 p.m. EST
For a moment, I almost felt sorry for Mark Zuckerberg.
Here was the founder and CEO of Meta, which runs Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, making his eighth appearance before a congressional panel on Wednesday. This time, the arena was a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at which Zuckerberg endured a withering assault from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), he of the clenched-fist support for Jan. 6 insurrectionists but now casting himself as the defender of teenage girls.
“You know full well your product is a disaster for teenagers,” Hawley asserted, citing internal Instagram research. Then Hawley asked, six times by my count, who Zuckerberg fired for allowing young people to be harmed. “Thirty-seven percent of teenage girls between 13 and 15 were exposed to unwanted nudity in a week on Instagram,” Hawley said. “You knew about it. Who did you fire?”
Zuckerberg knows better than most that Hawley’s goal was less of an inquiry than a display of political performance art. The tech entrepreneur wasn’t biting, though, and said he wouldn’t respond to the question. Rightly so: The issue at hand should have been fixing the problem, not determining who was punished for behavior that happens to mirror Meta’s product strategy.
But that’s where I lost sympathy for Zuckerberg — and where Hawley began making sense. Continue here.