Wednesday 31 January 2024

‘What The Hell Were You Thinking?’: Ted Cruz Confronts Mark Zuckerberg On Instagram Reportedly ‘Helping Pedophiles’

 Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz grilled Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a hearing on Wednesday about Instagram allegedly assisting pedophiles in accessing inappropriate child sexual content.

Cruz referred to investigative reporting by The Wall Street Journal exposing that numerous pedophiles have exploited Instagram’s algorithms and networking features for predatory activities during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis.” Cruz also presented a printed Instagram warning screen that provides an option for people searching for child abuse material to view the content on the platform and pressed the Meta CEO about it. 

“What was particularly concerning about The Wall Street Journal expose was the degree to which Instagram’s own algorithm was promoting the discoverability of victims for pedophiles seeking child abuse material,” Cruz asserted. “In other words, this material wasn’t just living on the dark corners of Instagram. Instagram was helping pedophiles find it by promoting graphic hashtags.”

Cruz then showed the Instagram warning screen.

“These results may contain images of child sexual abuse,” it says. It then gives users the option to either “get resources” or “see results anyway.”

“Mr. Zuckerberg, what the hell were you thinking?” Cruz asked about the warning screen.

Zuckerberg responded that research shows it is beneficial to give these people the option to obtain help.

“I understand ‘get resources,'” Cruz responded. “In what sane universe is there a link to ‘see results anyway’?”

“Well, because we might be wrong,” Zuckerberg responded.

Meta told the WSJ it was exploring “ways to actively defend against this behavior” in a statement responding to the reporting. The company established an internal child safety task force in June after the reporting but it still has had difficulties resolving the issue, according to the WSJ.

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