WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that the Committee’s previously announced hearing on online child sexual exploitation has been rescheduled for January 31, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. and will feature testimony from the CEOs of Meta, X (formerly known as Twitter), TikTok, Snap, and Discord.
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The CEOs of X, Discord, and Snap will testify pursuant to subpoenas issued by the Committee, following repeated refusals over weeks of negotiations by the three Big Tech leaders to testify. The CEOs of Meta and TikTok voluntarily agreed to testify at the hearing.
“When we held our first hearing on protecting children online with experts and advocates earlier this year, Big Tech griped about not getting an invitation. We promised them that their time would come. But when they were offered their chance to testify, some companies outright refused to make their CEOs available. Several companies initially refused to accept a subpoena. The U.S. Marshals Service even attempted to serve the subpoena at Discord’s office. Both actions are remarkable departures from typical practice,” said Durbin and Graham. “We’ve known from the beginning that our efforts to protect children online would be met with hesitation from Big Tech. They finally are being forced to acknowledge their failures when it comes to protecting kids. Now that all five companies are cooperating, we look forward to hearing from their CEOs. Parents and kids demand action.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from the following five CEOs of Big Tech companies on January 31, 2024:
- Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta
- Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X
- Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok
- Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap
- Jason Citron, CEO of Discord
Full text of the subpoena issued to the CEO of Discord is available here.
Full text of the subpoena issued to the CEO of Snap is available here.
Full text of the subpoena issued to the CEO of X is available here.
Since the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on this issue in February, the Committee has reported multiple bipartisan bills to help stop the exploitation of kids online, including:
- The STOP CSAM Act, which supports victims and increases accountability and transparency for online platforms;
- The EARN IT Act, which removes tech’s blanket immunity from civil and criminal liability under child sexual abuse material laws and establishes a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention;
- The SHIELD Act, which ensures that federal prosecutors have appropriate and effective tools to address the nonconsensual distribution of sexual imagery;
- The Project Safe Childhood Act, which modernizes the investigation and prosecution of online child exploitation crimes; and,
- The REPORT Act, which combats the rise in online child sexual exploitation by establishing new measures to help strengthen reporting of those crimes to the CyberTipline.
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