Zuckerberg and other tech bosses to testify on child safety


Tech bosses, including Mark Zuckerberg of Meta and Linda Yaccarino of X, are scheduled to testify in Washington today regarding concerns about children’s mental health and safety online. Politicians argue that big tech companies are not doing enough to protect children from sexual exploitation. Tougher laws have been under discussion, and executives have been summoned to explain their actions so far. The heads of TikTok, Discord, and Snap are also expected to attend. This will be the first time many of these executives, including Yaccarino, have testified before Congress. Yaccarino, Jason Citron of Discord, and Evan Spiegel of Snap received subpoenas before agreeing to appear at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Zuckerberg and Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, voluntarily agreed to testify. Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham stated that “parents and kids demand action” when announcing the plans for the hearing. The hearing comes three months after a former senior staff member at Meta expressed concerns to Congress about Instagram’s insufficient measures to protect teenagers from sexual harassment. Meta claimed to have implemented “over 30 tools” to create a safe environment for teens online. The Senate Judiciary Committee previously held a hearing on this topic in February 2023, during which witnesses and lawmakers agreed that companies should be held accountable. Legislators have since introduced bills such as the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), which was recently supported by Snapchat. The committee is particularly concerned about reports of explicit images of children being shared online, including those created using artificial intelligence. US lawmakers have noted an increase in such images and have cited whistleblower testimonies and accounts from child abuse survivors as additional reasons for the hearing. Although big tech companies have claimed to be addressing the issue and have implemented measures such as parental controls and content restrictions, they continue to face scrutiny from politicians and the public.

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