BOSTON (CBS) – Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg was lucky last April that most of the congressmen questioning him about his company’s gross irresponsibility were technically clueless. And Wednesday, when Facebook and Twitter executives showed up to answer more questions about their enabling of consumer exploitation, their appearance was overshadowed by Supreme Court confirmation hearings and other news.
But it appears the luck of these corporate behemoths – who’ve profited from new technology while paying scant attention to preventing its negative side effects – may soon run out. Senators seemed unimpressed by the contrition offered by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
“We found ourselves unprepared and ill-equipped for the immensity of the problems we have acknowledged,” Dorsey said.
Because they were too busy focusing on profits to care about the people at the other end.
And there was more of the same from Facebook bigwig Sheryl Sandberg, who found plenty of time to promote her feel good bromides over the years while neglecting the company’s responsibility to prevent toxic manipulation of their platform.
“We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act. That is on us,” she said.
The top brass from Google didn’t even bother to show up, prompting this observation from Senator Mark Warner.
“I’m skeptical that ultimately you’ll be able to truly address this challenge on your own. I believe Congress is going to have to act,” he said.
Bingo. These reckless money-making machines have shown us who they are. And it’s long past time for some adult supervision.