Sen. Blumenthal among lawmakers who grilled tech executives on social media's impact
Several technology executives testified Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the impact of social media on teens.
This included the heads of Meta, TikTok, Snapchat and X.
The group was asked about the mental health risks their applications pose to young users.
This included bullying, blackmail and suicide.
"They are responsible for many of the dangers our children face online. Their design choices and failures to adequately invest in trust and safety. Their constant pursuit of engagement in profit over basic safety have all put our kids and grandkids at risk. Coincidentally, several of these companies have implemented common sense child safety improvements within the last week," says Sen. Dick Durbin.
Mark Zuckerberg defended Instagram and Facebook, saying both have implemented online safety features.
"Overall, teens tell us this is a positive part of their lives, but some face challenges online, but we work hard to provide parents and teens support in reducing potential harms," says Zuckerberg.
A notable moment during the hearing came from Zuckerberg, who apologized to families at the hearing.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal was among the lawmakers who pushed to hold tech companies accountable for the harm he says social media causes children.
"We can no longer trust Meta, and quite frankly, any of the other social media to in fact grade their own homework," says Blumenthal.
He additionally asked the CEOs to support his Kids Online Safety Bill, which would require tech platforms to be more transparent.
The bill was one of five bills discussed by the committee.
The group has repeatedly opposed similar measures in the past.
However, two of the four CEOs, Evan Speigel, of Snapchat, and Linda Yaccarino, of X, testified their support for the bill.
"We strongly support the Kids Online Safety Act and we've already implemented many of its core revisions," says Speigel.
"Senator, we support and we will continue to make sure that it accelerates and make sure it continues to offer community to teens that are seeking that voice," says Yaccarino.
Blumenthal says despite the support, he remains disappointed.
"I don't think we can count on social media as a group or Big Tech to support this measure and in the past we know it's been opposed by armies of lawyers and lobbyists. We are prepared for this fight," says Blumenthal.
Big tech still opposes the majority of bills discussed at the hearing.