Senate tells social media CEOs they have ‘blood on their hands’ for failing to protect children

The CEOs of Meta, Snap, Discord, X and TikTok testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. about child abuse online. During the hearing, Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel, Jason Citron, Linda Yaccarino and Shaw Chew were grilled for hours by lawmakers about their child safety record.

The hearing was the first time Spiegel, Citron and Yaccarino testified to Congress. It should be noted that all three persons were subsequently summoned by the committee to appear voluntarily, according to lawmakers. Senator Dick Durbin, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, noted that Citron “accepted subpoena services only after US marshals were dispatched to Discord’s headquarters at taxpayer expense.”

The hearing room was packed with parents of children who have been victims of online abuse on social media. As the executives entered the room, many members of the audience silently held up photos of their children, and Durbin opened the hearing with a harrowing video featuring child abuse victims and their parents.

Durbin said: “Niffat has been used to groom, abduct and abuse children. “Meta’s Instagram helped to unite and promote a network of pedophiles. Snapchat’s disappearing messages have been picked up by criminals who extort money from young victims. TikTok has become the platform of choice for predators to abuse, attract and groom children. The prevalence of CSAM in X increased as the company lost credibility and security manpower.

During the hearing, many of the senators shared personal stories of parents whose children committed suicide after being abused online. “Mr. Zuckerberg, you and the companies before us — I know you don’t want to say this — but you have blood on your hands,” Senator Lindsey Graham said in his opening remarks. The audience cheered.

Although years of similar hearings have so far failed to produce any new legislation, bipartisan support for new safety regulations is growing in Congress. whom Tech Policy Press There are more than half a dozen bills currently being proposed by senators regarding children’s online safety. These include will require platforms to create more parental controls and safety features and submit to independent audits and A revised version of the Child and Adolescent Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, which prohibits companies from collecting or monetizing children’s information without their consent.

Senators have also proposed a number of child abuse bills, including the Win IT Act, which is currently in effect. 2020 and the STOP CSAM Act. None of them came to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Many of these bills have faced intense lobbying from the tech industry, although some of the companies involved have expressed openness to some aspects of the legislation.

Zuckerberg offers a different approach, saying he supports age verification and parental control requirements at the app store level, which would effectively shift the burden to Apple and Google. Meta has come under special pressure in recent months after the trial because it harms the mental health of teenagers. The lawsuit’s court documents allege that Meta turned into a to children under the age of 13 using its services, to prevent adults from sexually harassing teenagers on Facebook and Zuckerberg personally Stop trying to ban plastic surgery filters on Instagram.


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