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CEOs of Major Social Media Companies to Testify at US Senate Hearing

 |  November 30, 2023

In a significant development, the chief executives of leading social media companies, including Meta, X, TikTok, Snap, and Discord, are set to testify on the critical issue of online child sexual exploitation at a U.S. Senate hearing scheduled for January 31. The announcement was made by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic chairman of the panel, and the ranking Republican Lindsey Graham revealed that both Discord and X initially resisted participating in the hearing and even refused to accept a subpoena. However, they later confirmed cooperation. In a joint statement, Durbin and Graham expressed their anticipation for the CEOs’ testimony, emphasizing the importance of addressing the failures of major tech companies in safeguarding children online.

This hearing marks TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s first appearance before U.S. lawmakers since March. During the previous session, the Chinese-owned short video app faced rigorous questioning, with some queries suggesting potential harm to children’s mental health.

The announcement comes amid stalled legislative efforts in Congress to empower the Biden administration with new authorities to restrict Americans from using foreign communication technologies, particularly addressing concerns related to TikTok. The platform boasts a user base of over 150 million Americans.

The CEOs slated to testify include Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, Linda Yaccarino of X, Evan Spiegel of Snap, and Jason Citron of Discord. Durbin and Graham emphasized that the hearing would provide an opportunity for committee members to press these industry leaders on their companies’ shortcomings in protecting children in the online space.

“Big Tech’s failure to police itself at the expense of our kids cannot go unanswered,” Durbin and Graham asserted, underscoring the gravity of the issue at hand and the need for accountability within the tech industry.

Source: Reuters