Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter urging Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to bankroll a compensation fund for victims harmed by the company’s social media platforms.
“I urge you to immediately create a fund endowed by your own personal wealth for the purpose of compensating those who have been victimized by your platforms,” Hawley wrote. “These families can never be made whole — but they can get some measure of justice and accountability from you.”
Hawley took aim at Zuckerberg and the CEOs of TikTok, Snap, Discord and X during a fiery hearing Wednesday about the harm and threats posed to teenagers and children online. He blasted Zuckerberg during the hearing for failing to set up a compensation fund for the victims with his wealth.
Hawley continued to push Zuckerberg to create a compensation fund for the victims of online abuse in his letter Thursday, telling the tech billionaire that he can show families of victims that his apology was “sincere” by using his personal wealth to fund compensation for the victims.
“You amassed your fortune from Facebook’s growth; but while your platform grew, so did its role in enabling child exploitation. Now you must make financial decisions with moral purpose,” Hawley wrote in the letter.
“With just a 10 percent donation of your net worth to a victim’s compensation fund, you can provide thousands of victimized children with counseling services, you can reimburse burial services for families who lost a loved one, and you can provide resources to all victims to help get their dignity back,” Hawley wrote.
Zuckerberg attempted to defend Meta, the Facebook and Instagram parent company, saying that it is taking “industry-leading” efforts to mitigate risks posed to children online. At one point during the hearing, Zuckerberg turned his back to the senators to stand and apologize to parents of children who have died or were seriously harmed by the online abuse.
”I’m sorry for everything you have all been through. No one should go through the things that your families have suffered, and this is why we invest so much and we are going to continue doing industry-wide efforts to make sure no one has to go through the things your families have had to suffer,” he said.
The Hill has reached out to Meta for comment.