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Lawmakers to subpoena Big Tech CEOs to testify about child sexual exploitation

Two senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee have subpoenaed the CEOs of Discord, Snap and X – formerly Twitter – to testify about child safety in December.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois subpoenaed the CEOs to compel them to testify, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The committee expects the CEOs of TikTok and Meta to testify willingly and wants to hear all of their testimony to help address the plight of children who are sexually exploited online.

“Since the beginning of this Congress, our Committee has focused on a key bipartisan issue: protecting children from the dangers of the online world,” Durbin and Graham said in a statement shared with the DCNF . “It’s at the top of every parent’s mind, and Big Tech’s failure to police itself at the expense of our children cannot go unanswered.”

The CEOs of Discord, Snap and X repeatedly refused to come forward in the weeks-long negotiation period, they told the DCNF. They had to get the US Marshals Service to issue the subpoenas to Discord and X.

“Hearing from the CEOs of some of the world’s largest social media companies will help inform the Committee’s efforts to address the online child sexual exploitation crisis,” they added.

discorda social networking site first created for gamers has been a hub for child sexual exploitation, including grooming and sextortion, NBC News reported in June The outlet found 165 cases in which adults were prosecuted for using Discord to exchange sexually explicit images of children or allegedly extort them to distribute explicit images of themselves, and 35 cases, 15 of which the accused pleaded guilty , where adults used it to kidnap. the boyfriend or sexually assault the children.

Snap was “one of the most dangerous platforms” for child sexual abuse, but has made significant changes since September, seconds at the National Center for Sexual Exploitation.

The Stanford Internet Observatory identified more than 40 images on X that were flagged as child sexual exploitation content in a pool of about 100,000 posts from March to May, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A Meta whistleblower recently shared findings that 24% of teens were victims of unwanted sexual advances. seconds on NPR.

TikTok has also struggled accusations of enabling child sexual abuse and exploitation on the app despite assurances that the policies “prohibit content that depicts or disseminates child abuse, child nudity, or the sexual exploitation of children in digital or real”.

X told the DCNF that he is cooperating with the committee, but his CEO has a conflict on the date of the testimony.

“We have been working in good faith to participate in the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on online child protection, as safety is our highest priority at X,” said the head of US-Canada Government Affairs at X, Wifredo Fernandez, at the DCNF. “Today we are announcing our updated availability to participate in a hearing on this important issue.”

Discord, Meta, Snap and TikTok did not immediately respond to DCNF’s request for comment.

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