Five of the country’s most prominent tech executives appeared at a hearing today on Capitol Hill, where they were berated by lawmakers for creating “a crisis in America” by ignoring the spread of child sexual abuse material on their platforms.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spent almost four hours needling the chief executives of Meta, TikTok, X, Snap and Discord. Some said the companies had “blood on their hands” and that users “would “die waiting” for them to make changes. Others compared the tech firms to cigarette makers.
The senators pressured the executives to say on the record if they support the Kids Online Safety Act, a bipartisan bill backed by dozens of senators but opposed by the A.C.L.U. and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on censorship grounds. Only Evan Spiegel of Snap and Linda Yaccarino of X said yes.
In one remarkable moment, Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, stood up from the witness table and turned to directly address family members whose children were victims of online harassment and exploitation. “I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,” Zuckerberg said.