Social Media CEOs testify on child exploitation at US Senate Hearing

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United States: The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced that the chief executive officials of Meta (META.O), TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), Snapchat (SNAP.N) and Discord will be present at the January 31 US Senate hearing to testify on child sexual exploitation. The announcement was made on Wednesday.

Out of these five social media platforms, Discord and X were hesitant about the participation and also declined to accept the subpoena, according to the statement by Dick Durbin – the Democratic chairman of the panel, and Lindsey Graham – the ranking Republican.

According to the reports by the news agency Reuters, both were quoted saying, “Now that all five companies are cooperating, we look forward to hearing from their CEOs.”

First appearance of CEO of TikTok before US lawmakers

It is to be noted that the CEO of TikTok – Shou Zi Chew, will appear before US lawmakers for the very first time since March – the time when the short video app was questioned harshly. According to several reports, some of the parents also showed concern regarding the social media app’s negative impact on children’s mental health.

The reports by Reports have claimed that it is to be noted that the proposed legislation has stalled in Congress – offering the Biden administration powers to stop Americans from using foreign applications, including TikTok. According to the official stats, as many as 150 million Americans are using the application.

The reports have underlined that the hearing with the CEOs of the biggest social media platforms will allow the committee members to highlight the importance of protecting children on online platforms.

Who will testify?

The reports have suggested that the CEO of Meta – Mark Zuckerberg; CEO of X – Linda Yaccarino; CEO of Discord – Jason Citron and CEO of Snap – Evan Spiegel, will testify.

In a joint statement, Durbin and Graham stated, “Big Tech’s failure to police itself at the expense of our kids cannot go unanswered.”

Bill approved by the committee

This year, several bills have been approved by the committee, including the one under which the tech firms will no longer have immunity from civil and criminal liability under child sexual abuse material laws – first proposed in the year 2020.

Along with this, the second will focus on the establishment of a National Commission, based on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention. In addition to this, another bill was on modernizing the investigations and prosecutions of online child exploitation crimes, according to the reports published by Reuters.