Sexual predators. Addictive features. Suicide and eating disorders. Unrealistic beauty standards. Bullying. These are just some of the issues young people are dealing with on social media — and children’s advocates and lawmakers say companies are not doing enough to protect them.
On Wednesday, the CEOs of Meta, TikTok, X and other social media companies went before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify as lawmakers and parents grow increasingly concerned about the effects of social media on young people’s lives.
From left; Discord CEO Jason Citron, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, X CEO Linda Yaccarino and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, are sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, to discuss child safety. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The hearing began with recorded testimony from kids and parents who said they or their children were exploited on social media. Throughout the hours-long event, parents who lost children to suicide silently held up pictures of their dead kids.
“They’re responsible for many of the dangers our children face online,” U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who chairs the committee, said in opening remarks. “Their design choices, their failures to adequately invest in trust and safety, their constant pursuit of engagement and profit over basic safety have all put our kids and grandkids at risk.”