Meta, X, TikTok CEOs face US Senate over children’s online safety

(Bloomberg) — Leaders of social media platforms were warned by lawmakers at the opening of a U.S. Senate hearing to discuss children’s online safety, which began with video and testimony from people who say X, Facebook And she was sexually harassed on Instagram.

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The 21-member Senate Judiciary Committee summoned the chief executives of Meta Platforms Inc., X, Snap Inc., Discord Inc. and TikTok to Washington in an effort to hold them accountable for the impact of their platforms on teens and children.

“These companies must be reined in, otherwise the worst is yet to come,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the committee. Taking aim at Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Graham said he had “blood on his hands”, detailing the story of a child who was the victim of sexual abuse. He added, “You have a product that is killing people.” His remarks received thunderous applause and cheering from the lawyers present.

Congress is under pressure to respond to growing criticism of the spread of child sexual abuse material online and the failure of tech companies to protect children from predators. They will also question officials about the impact of social media use on the mental health of youth.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, is holding the hearing to build momentum for the committee’s legislation targeting online child sexual exploitation. The highly anticipated event began with journalists, industry executives and young online safety advocates seated in a packed Capitol Hill hearing room.

Durbin played a video of victims of online child sexual abuse sharing their stories, accused social media companies of failing to protect them and…

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