Common Sense Media CEO Jim Steyer called Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg’s defense of Meta’s impact on mental health “pathetic,” as the tech founder stands accused of damaging the mental wellbeing of children through his subsidiaries Instagram and Facebook.
During an appearance on CNN on Wednesday, Steyer gave journalist Boris Sanchez his thoughts about Zuckerberg’s defense during the tech CEO hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Zuckerberg claimed that “the existing body of scientific work has not shown a causal link between using social media and young people having worse mental health outcomes.”
Steyer is the founder of Common Sense, which according to its website is the nation’s leading nonprofit “dedicated to improving the lives of all kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century.” He said Zuckerberg’s words were completely asinine, pointing out that there may not necessarily be a causation, but rather a correlation.
“This is mumbo-jumbo from Mark Zuckerberg, who knows better. And shame on him for trying to parse his words,” Steyer said. “I run the biggest kids media organization in the United States and I wrote a book, 10, 12 years called ‘Talking Back to Facebook’ about these issues. Zuckerberg has known about the problems on Facebook and Instagram and the deep harms that have happened to children for more than a decade. And so he is just parsing his words. It’s utter pathetic.”
Watch video of Steyer’s comments below.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies there's no "causal link" between "using social media and young people having worse mental health outcomes."
Common Sense Media CEO @jimsteyer tells @Boris_Sanchez this is "just mumbo-jumbo from Mark Zuckerberg, who knows better." pic.twitter.com/O1x5jCfx4Z
— CNN News Central (@NewsCentralCNN) January 31, 2024
Steyer also stated lawmakers should be held accountable for their failure to take action after having knowledge of how social media platforms were effecting children.
“The senators who are doing a good job today, where have they been for the last decade?” Steyer said. “They have not passed a single law to rein in Facebook, Instagram or any of the other platforms. So they bear a lot of the responsibility for their failure to act. That’s why we’ve passed all the laws in California cause Congress hasn’t done it’s job. Zuckerberg’s responses are as incredible and non-accurate as you suggested they are, Boris.”
Zuckerberg was joined by his fellow tech executives Jason Citron, CEO of Discord; Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap; Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok; Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X and Zuckerberg. Some of the topics that were discussed during the hearing were the impacts social media has had with child sex trafficking exploitation, human trafficking, cyberbullying, impact self-esteem and body image.
Not only did the tech giants show up, but so did dozens of parents, who Zuckerberg publicly apologized to during the hearing.
“I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,” Zuckerberg said. “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.”