The US lawmakers are more concerned about children’s safety than ever. They first introduced the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) in May 2023 as a guide to protect children on social platforms. Now, the US Senate wants to hold a hearing over online child sexual exploitation by subpoenaing tech CEOs.
CEOs of X (formerly Twitter), Discord, and Snap are subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 6. Lawmakers also expect Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg TikTok’s Shou Zi Chew to participate in the hearing voluntarily.
According to committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and ranking member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the Big Tech’s failure to protect children can not go unanswered. “I’m hauling in Big Tech CEOs before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify on their failure to protect kids online,” Durbin added.
X, Snap, and Discord CEOs will appear before the Senate
The committee further noted that X and Discord refused to accept subpoenas on behalf of their CEOs. So, the committee has to use the US Marshals Service. In response, Wifredo Fernandez, head of US and Canada government affairs at X, said they’re working in “good faith” to participate in the Senate hearing. Fernandez also said they’ll community their availability today.
A Discord spokesperson told Engadget that protecting users, especially minors, is “central to everything” at the company. “We have been actively engaging with the Committee on how we can best contribute to this important industry discussion,” the spokesperson added. Discord also announced its availability to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It remains to be seen if Meta and TikTok CEO will appear before the Senate. Both platforms have already come under fire over children’s safety. Arturo Béjar, a former director of engineering for Protect and Care at Facebook, has recently testified before Congress about the company’s practices to protect minors. He blasts the tech firm over its policies toward children, saying Meta can’t be trusted with our children. Meta policies have always been controversial. The firm has just said that app stores should be responsible for age verification.
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