Tech CEOs Heavily Questioned Over Failure To Protect Children

(L-R) Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok; Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X; and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, are sworn in during the US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, "Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis," in Washington, DC, on January 31, 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
12:02 PM – Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Tech chief executives of social media companies were grilled during a Senate hearing over their failure to protect children exploitation.  


On Wednesday, the CEOs of the social media platforms Meta, X, TikTok, Snapchat, and Discord were grilled at a Senate hearing about their initiatives to stop online child sex exploitation.

In the beginning of the hearing, they showed a video in which a child speaks about being the victim on the social media platform. 

“I was sexually exploited on Facebook,” said one child.

The Judiciary Committee’s Democrat chairman, Dick Durbin, showed statistics from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that showed that financial “sextortation,” which is when a predator tricks a minor into sending explicit photos and videos, had skyrocketed in the last year. 

“This disturbing growth in child sexual exploitation is driven by one thing: changes in technology,” Durbin said during the hearing.

As the CEOs entered the room, the parents who were waiting all held pictures of their children. 

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg that he has a “product that is killing people.”

“Mr. Zuckerberg, you and the companies before us, I know you don’t mean it to be so, but you have blood on your hands,” Graham said. “You have a product that’s killing people.”

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew had previously written a testimony adding that TikTok’s community guidelines strictly prohibit anything that puts “teenagers at risk of exploitation or other harm — and we vigorously enforce them.”

“We make careful product design choices to help make our app inhospitable to those seeking to harm teens,” Chew stated.

According to Durbin, criminals are using the platforms to prey on children or exchange information about child sexual abuse.

Zuckerberg, whose Meta owns Instagram and Facebook; Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X; Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat; and Jason Citron, CEO of Discord, will all testify later on Wednesday.

Spiegel said Snapchat’s parental controls resemble “how we believe parents monitor their teens activity in the real world – where parents want to know who their teens are spending time with but don’t need to listen in on every private conversation.”

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