Senator Amy Klobuchar tore into the CEOs of social media companies attending a Congressional hearing on child safety Wednesday, calling out platforms Meta, X, Snap, TikTok, and Discord for dragging their feet over legislation.
On Wednesday, the CEOs of all five companies appeared in front of a Senate hearing to discuss the safety and protections of minors on their platforms.
Klobuchar grilled the CEOs on whether they supported bills like STOP CSAM and the Shield Act to streamline protections through the government saying, “For too long we have been seeing the social media companies turn a blind eye.”
“When kids have joined these platforms in record numbers, they have used algorithms that push harmful content because that content got popular,” Klobuchar said. “They provided a venue maybe not knowingly at first, but for dealers to sell deadly drugs like fentanyl, our own head of our drug enforcement administration has said they basically been captured by the cartels in Mexico and in China.”
In a rare moment of crossing the aisle, Klobuchar agreed with Sen. Lindsey Graham “that nothing is going to change unless we open up the courtroom doors. I think the time for all of this immunity is done because I think money talks even stronger than we talk up here.”
“We should do something finally about liability,” Klobuchar continued. “The Shield Act includes a threat provision that would help protection and accountability for those that are threatened by these predators.”
The Senator then turned the hearing to Discord CEO Jason Citron, asking him why his company isn’t in full support of the Shield Act.
“Senator, we think it’s very important that teens have a safe experience on our platforms,” Citron replied, dancing around the line of questioning. “I think that the portion to strengthen law enforcement ability to investigate crimes against children to hold bad actors accountable is incredibly important.”
“So you’re holding open that you may support it?” Klobuchar pressed.
“We very much would like to have conversations with you,” Citron added. “We’re open to discussing further and we do welcome legislation regulation.”
Klobuchar then got a bit testy, interrupting Citron to say, “I’m much more interested in if you support it because there’s been so much talk at these hearings and popcorn throwing.”
“I just want to get this stuff done,” Klobuchar continued. “I’m so tired of this. It’s been 28 years since the internet, we haven’t passed any of these bills, because everyone’s doubled-talk double talk.”
“It’s time to actually pass them and the reason they haven’t passed is because of the power of your company,” the Senator argued.
“Let’s be really, really clear about that. What you say matters. Your words matter,” Klobuchar said in a warning to all the CEOs at the table.