CORRESPONDENT: Natalie Brand
(CBS) – Five of the most powerful tech CEOs are on Capitol Hill Wednesday, answering questions about whether they do enough to protect children from sexual exploitation online.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the Senate Judiciary Committee he’s proud of the work his company — which owns Facebook and Instagram — has done to improve child safety online.
“Over the past eight years, we have built 30 different tools resources, and features that parents can set time limits for their teens using our apps,” stated Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg,
He, along with the CEOs of X, TikTok, Snap, and Discord all faced heavy criticism from lawmakers about child sexual exploitation on social media.
“Meta’s Instagram helped connect and promote a network of pedophiles. Snapchat disappearing messages by criminals that extort young victims,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ahead of the hearing, Snap said it will now support the “Kids Online Safety Act,” a bipartisan bill that mandates platforms to stop recommending harmful content to kids.
Meta said it will prohibit people 19 and older from messaging teens who don’t follow them on Instagram.
But some parents say that social media companies are not doing enough to protect kids from the dangers on their platforms.
“You know, it seems like these big tech companies know exactly how to make it work for them and the parents don’t know what’s going on,” said Tammy Rodriguez, a mother.
Tammy Rodriguez’s 11-year-old daughter Selena, died by suicide after what her mom calls an extreme addiction to Snapchat and Instagram.
“She had seven Instagram accounts I had no idea about and she had men that were accosting her to exploit her,” stated Rodriguez.
Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee are calling for amending a regulation that shields tech companies from being sued by users.