Tuesday, March 5

Takeaways from Senate hearing with tech CEOs on child online safety

“I’m sorry for everything you’ve been through,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “No one should have to go through the things your families went through. » He said his company works in a way that no one else has to and did not address Meta’s role.

Although the executives of Meta, Snap, Discord, the most time in the spotlight. Senators questioned both men about the number of incidents of abuse on their platforms.

Evan Spiegel, Snap’s chief executive, and Linda Yaccarino, who runs X, have both agreed to support the Kids Online Safety Act, or KOSA. The proposed law would require online services such as social media networks, video gaming sites and messaging apps to take “reasonable” steps. “Measures” to prevent harm – including online bullying, harassment, sexual exploitation, anorexia, self-harm and predatory marketing – towards minors who use their platforms. Mr. Zuckerberg, Mr. Chew and Jason Citron, Discord’s chief executive, stopped short of pledging their support, with some saying the project was directionally useful but contained overly broad restrictions that could conflict with the issues. of freedom of expression.

Lawmakers have repeatedly emphasized TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government, thanks to its Chinese ownership by ByteDance. Mr Chew, who was born in Singapore and still lives there with his three children, was asked whether he had a Chinese passport or had ever applied for Chinese citizenship. (That wasn’t the case, although he lived in Beijing for five years.) He was also asked about the progress of TikTok’s multibillion-dollar plan to isolate sensitive data from American users.

Despite years of public vilification against Big Tech, no significant legislation has passed Congress into law.

Sapna Maheshwari contributed reporting from New York.