Cruz Rips into Zuckerberg

( – A Republican senator has blasted Mark Zuckerberg and other tech industry leaders. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was questioning the Facebook boss on his company’s policies about child sex abuse images. Unfortunately for the billionaire, he didn’t have any good answers.

On January 31, Zuckerberg appeared at a congressional hearing on online safety. During that hearing, Cruz displayed a large image of the results of a Facebook search for sexual images of children. The website displayed a warning that the results could contain harmful material, then offered users two options. One was “Get resources” on reporting child porn or confidential help; Cruz thought that was a sensible option. The second option, however, was “See results anyway” — and the senator was less impressed with that one.

Challenging Zuckerberg, Cruz asked the tech entrepreneur, “What the hell were you thinking?” Zuckerberg tried to defend himself, claiming it’s “often helpful” to try to redirect problem users to useful resources instead of just blocking them and their searches. Cruz hammered his point home, though, saying he understood offering resources “but in what sane universe is there a link for ‘See results anyway?’” When Zuckerberg tried to argue that the option was necessary because the company might be wrong about the search, the senator asked him how often the warning had been displayed. Zuckerberg didn’t know.

In total, there were five tech bosses at the hearing, including Shou Zi Chew, CEO of the controversial Chinese app TikTok, but Zuckerberg was the main target — and he came under a lot of fire. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) accused the executives of having “a product that’s killing people” while Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) warned them that if the industry doesn’t change the way it operates “We could regulate you out of business.”

Zuckerberg, who was forced to apologize for his company’s failures under pressure from Cruz, got that message loud and clear. The tech industry mostly sided with Biden in 2020; with the GOP rising again, it isn’t going to have many friends in Congress to protect it from the consequences of its actions.

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