A brief history of Mark Zuckerberg's public apologies

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, speaks directly to victims and their family members during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on January 31, 2024 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from the heads of

Mark Zuckerberg was in an uncomfortable spot during a Senate hearing on child exploitation on social media and found himself apologizing. 

The Meta CEO faced scathing questions from lawmakers on Wednesday about child safety measures on his social media platform while parents of children exploited, bullied or driven to self harm via social media held up pictures of their loved ones as Zuckerberg turned to address them. 

RELATED: Videos: Zuckerberg grilled, stands and apologizes during child safety hearing before Senate

"I'm sorry for everything you've been through," the Meta CEO said Wednesday. "No one should go through what you and your families have suffered." Then he returned to corporate mode, noting Meta's continued investments in "industry-wide" efforts to protect children, the Associated Press reported.

Zuckerberg has issued public apologies related to a crisis or when Facebook users complain about changes to the platform. 

Here are some of his notable apologies through the years. 

Blinded by Beacon

In 2007, Facebook released a service called "Beacon" and it was designed to bring in a new age of "social" advertising. According to the Associated Press, Beacon monitored user purchases and activities on other sites and shared it on friends’ newsfeeds without permission. 

Zuckerberg later wrote in a blog post to users acknowledging that errors happened building Beacon and the service didn’t last. 

RELATED: Meta, TikTok, other social media CEOs testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on child exploitation

Mocking Facebook’s early users 

When Facebook launched nearly 20 years ago, Zuckerberg, who was 19 years old at the time, mocked about 4,000 students who joined his new social media platform. He boasted to friends in text messages about all of the personal information he amassed from users and called them "dumb."  When the messages were published by a news outlet in 2010, Zuckerberg apologized for what he said in an interview. 

Burying a federal settlement

The Federal Trade Commission subjected Facebook to stricter privacy oversight in November 2011 after learning the company made private information public, didn’t limit data sharing with apps, and shared personal information with advertisers. 

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Zuckerberg wrote an essay and addressed the mistakes and cited Beacon as one of them, the AP noted.

Virtual reality tour of disaster zone

Zuckerberg found himself in hot water after he and a Facebook colleague starred in a live virtual reality tour of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, filming themselves in a prerecorded 3-D video showing the damage and recovery efforts.

After the video drew criticism, Zuckerberg posted an apology in a video chat, sharing that he was trying to show Facebook’s efforts at recovery.

Cambridge Analytica

Facebook was in the news for the wrong reason in 2018 when it was reported that the social media titan allowed apps to scrape data from user accounts and their friends without oversight. 

According to the AP, one app had data from 87 million Facebook users, and sent to Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, connected to then-President Donald Trump's political strategist Steve Bannon.

The data was reportedly used to target voters in the 2016 presidential campaign that resulted in Trump’s election. 

Zuckerberg later apologized on CNN for not protecting user data or cracking down on fake news and hate speech and explaining that Facebook didn’t manage foreign interference in the 2016 elections on its platform.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.