Social media executives from Meta, X, Discord, TikTok and Snap appearing on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee largely refused to explicitly support several proposed bills designed to protect children online and make it easier to sue social media companies for harm.
Among them, the CEO of Discord Jason Citron was in for some of the most intense grilling in the early questioning.
Citron was pressed by Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin on the company’s moderation policies and the fact that only Discord servers with more than 200 members are subject to automated moderation. Smaller servers rely more heavily on their members to report harmful content.
“So how do you defend an approach to safety that relies on groups of fewer than 200 sexual predators to report themselves for things like grooming?” Durbin asked.
Citron replied that the app has launched safety features such as Teen Safety Assist, but Durbin replied that if Discord’s safety features worked, “we wouldn’t be here today.”
Several of the CEOs declined to explicitly support proposed bills including the STOP CSAM Act (X has endorsed this bill) while refusing to endorse the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 — a short clause that protects online services from being held liable for content uploaded to them by other parties.
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham was particularly harsh after the CEOs refused to commit to supporting legislation, saying “if you wait on these guys to solve the problem we’re gonna die waiting.”