Some of the most important names in tech will testify before the US Senate on January thirty first, 2024 during a hearing about online child exploitation. In a Wednesday announcement, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it should hear from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, X (formerly Twitter) CEO Linda Yaccarino, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, and Discord CEO Jason Citron.
Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued subpoenas for Yaccarino, Spiegel, and Citron earlier this month after receiving “repeated refusals to look during several weeks of negotiations.” Zuckerberg and Chew voluntarily agreed to testify. The senators say the hearing will give the CEOs the prospect to “testify about their failure to guard children online.”
“We’ve known from the start that our efforts to guard children online could be met with hesitation from Big Tech,” Senators Durbin and Graham said in a joint statement. “They finally are being forced to acknowledge their failures in relation to protecting kids. Now that each one five corporations are cooperating, we stay up for hearing from their CEOs. Parents and children demand motion.”
The hearing comes as a part of a bipartisan effort to clamp down on child safety rules across the web. Over the past 12 months, online safety bills across several states have gone into effect with the goal of protecting children online. However, critics argue the bills are too far-reaching and will do more harm than good.
In March, Utah signed a bill that may require minors to acquire parental consent to enroll to social platforms, while each Louisiana and Mississippi now require age verification to view content considered harmful to children, like porn. Other child safety bills, just like the Kids Online Safety Act and COPPA 2.0 were also recently approved by the Senate Commerce Committee despite pushback from privacy advocates.