January 2024

Big Tech CEOs to address child safety records before US Senate

This week, Big Tech CEOs will appear before the American Senate to answer questions about their child safety record.

The hearing on Wednesday 31 January, starting at 3pm UK time, will feature testimony from Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, Shou Chew of TikTok, Linda Yaccarino of X, Evan Spiegel of Snap and Jason Citron of Discord.

Ian Russell, Chair of Trustees at the Molly Rose Foundation, said: “This is a crucial opportunity for tech CEOs to be held accountable for a decade of preventable harm which has happened on their watch. 

“Social networks continue to be dangerous by design because of the actions of these CEOs and the corporate culture they create.

“Senators should demand radical transparency and urgent changes from these companies, instead of a further round of crisis comms and piecemeal announcements that ultimately lead us nowhere.”

Referring to Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg’s scheduled testimony, Mr Russell added: “Recent lawsuits have shown Meta knew there was a palpable risk of further child deaths after Molly died, yet they decided to do the bare minimum in response.

“CEO Mark Zuckerberg was personally warned the company was defending the indefensible but continued to ignore red flags from even his own senior staff.

“Meta has consistently chosen to tell Congressional hearings that their platforms are safe, while internal evidence points to inherently preventable harm. Senators must demand full accountability and an explanation for years of knowingly putting children at risk.”

Recent MRF research found that Instagram and TikTok continue to algorithmically recommend huge volumes of harmful suicide and self-harm content to teenagers, with harmful posts on TikTok attracting millions of views and likes.

Last week the Molly Rose Foundation hosted Meta whistleblower Arturo Bejar in London, for a programme of meetings and events with regulators, ministers and civil society. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Bejar remarked that Meta had failed to learn the lessons from Molly’s death and should improve its child safety response.

If you’re struggling just text MRF to 85258 so you can speak to a trained volunteer from Shout, the UK’s Crisis Text Line service

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