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  • Voltaire Staff

CEOs of Meta, X to depose before US Senate on child safety online


Image Courtesy: Unsplash


Some of the biggest names in tech are scheduled to testify in a senate hearing on January 31, 2024, in the US on the issue of protection of children online, according to a Senate Judiciary Committee statement.


CEOs of Meta, X, Discord, TikTok, and Snap have agreed to appear in the meeting after they were invited, or issued subpoena, at the behest of senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).


"The CEOs of X, Discord, and Snap will testify pursuant to subpoenas issued by the Committee, following repeated refusals over weeks of negotiations by the three Big Tech leaders to testify. The CEOs of Meta and TikTok voluntarily agreed to testify at the hearing," read the statement issued by the committee on Wednesday.


According to it, Mark Zuckerberg, Linda Yaccarino, Shou Zi Chew, Evan Spiegel, and Jason Citron, the CEOs of Meta, X, TikTok, Snap, and Discord, in that order, have agreed to testify before the committee in January.


"We’ve known from the beginning that our efforts to protect children online would be met with hesitation from Big Tech. They finally are being forced to acknowledge their failures when it comes to protecting kids. Now that all five companies are cooperating, we look forward to hearing from their CEOs. Parents and kids demand action," said Durbin and Graham in the statement.


School districts all over the United States have taken legal action against Meta, ByteDance, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), and Snap. They claim that these companies are responsible for causing both physical and emotional harm to children.


Additionally, 42 states filed a lawsuit against Meta last month amid allegations that Facebook and Instagram changed the emotional and social lives of a whole generation of young Americans.


ByteDance-owned TikTok had made an appearance in a US court in March this year deposing on inquiries about potential harm to children's mental health.


The January meeting is part of a group effort by both Democrats and Republicans to make stricter rules for keeping kids safe on the internet.


Last year, several US states made laws to protect children online.


In March, Utah passed a law that says kids need their parents' permission to join social media platforms. Louisiana and Mississippi now require proof of age to see content that could be harmful to kids, like pornography.


Other laws for child safety, such as the Kids Online Safety Act and COPPA 2.0, were also approved by the Senate Commerce Committee recently, even though some privacy supporters opposed them.


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