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Tech CEOs told 'you have blood on your hands' at US Senate child safety hearing

 WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - U.S. senators on Wednesday grilled leaders of the biggest social media companies and said Congress must quickly pass legislation, as one lawmaker accused the companies of having "blood on their hands" for failing to protect children from escalating threats of sexual predation on their platforms.

Parents and lawmakers say executives are not doing enough to thwart dangers, including sexual exploitation and bullying.

CEOs from Meta, TikTok, X and other companies have been grilled by United States lawmakers over the dangers that children and teens face using the social media platforms.

In a pivotal hearing on Wednesday, high-profile U.S. senators took on the CEOs of major social media giants, including Meta, TikTok, and X, stressing the immediate need for legislative action. The lawmakers accused these companies of neglecting the safety of children on their platforms and asserted that they have "blood on their hands."

During the intense session, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham addressed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg directly, stating, "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. You have a product that’s killing people."

Zuckerberg, visibly affected, apologized to the audience, expressing remorse for the challenges faced by families. The hearing aimed to tackle concerns raised by parents and mental health experts who argue that social media corporations prioritize profits over implementing protective measures for children.

Mark Zuckerberg, alongside CEOs Linda Yaccarino of X, Evan Spiegel of Snap, Shou Zi Chew of TikTok, and Jason Citron of Discord, appeared as witnesses. Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, referred to data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, highlighting a disturbing increase in financial "sextortion" cases involving minors.

During a heated exchange, internal emails were presented, revealing Zuckerberg's rejection of a request by Meta's chief policy executive to assemble a team of 45 to 84 engineers dedicated to improving safety measures.

Linda Yaccarino of X expressed support for the STOP CSAM Act, introduced by Senator Durbin. This legislation aims to hold tech firms accountable in cases of child sexual abuse material, enabling victims to take legal action against platforms and app stores. It's important to note that while several initiatives address child safety, none have become law to date. Stay tuned for further updates on this critical issue.


Tech CEOs told 'you have blood on your hands' at US Senate child safety hearing

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