(BrightPress.org) – Big tech CEOs speaking with Congressional investigators defended themselves amid criticism that their companies were contributing to harm inflicted on America’s youth. Over a four-hour hearing on Wednesday, February 1st, Congressmen blasted big tech representatives for allowing young people to be exploited on their platforms and elaborated on the dangers associated with social media.
The CEOs defended themselves, highlighting their efforts to contain or mitigate damaging behavior on the platforms. Some Senators slammed lobbying paid for by the companies that interfered with the passage of bills attempting to help protect families and young children online.
In an instantly viral moment, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) invited Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to apologize to the families gathered who lost children or who were subjected to harm due to their presence on his platforms. Zuckerberg accepted and apologized taking “full responsibility” for the “pain and suffering” of children on his platforms.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was affiliated with new legislation designed to safeguard children online. The gathering additionally featured testimony from TikTok’s Shou Chew, X’s Linda Yaccarino, Snap Chat’s Evan Spiegel, and Jason Citron, CEO of Discord.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has shown that the number of daily tips they get regarding child exploitation online has increased ten times over the last decade. Another area of concern is mental health. Due to their developing brains and nascent personalities, children are vulnerable not only to predation but also to social pressure and bullying from other children online.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has previously highlighted evidence that suggests social media isn’t safe for children and can cause lasting harm.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slammed the big tech executives, saying that their products were “killing people” and that despite their best intentions they had “blood on their hands.”
Meta recently released plans to require more stringent age verification for new downloads of its application as well as content occlusion for anything deemed inappropriate for youngsters.
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