WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke about her long battle to hold Big Tech accountable and thanked Meta whistleblower Arturo Béjar for coming forward.
Senator Blackburn, along with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), is the co-author of the Kids Online Safety Act, which provides young people and parents with the tools they need to protect against online harms and requires social media platforms to put the well-being of children first. Both Senators met jointly with Mr. Béjar last week.
Click here to watch.
Big Tech Has Proven Incapable Of Governing Themselves And Designing For Safety
“And as I told [Mr. Béjar] in our meeting, the day we had that first hearing, looking at what was happening online with children, it was like the floodgates opened. And we started hearing from moms and dads - not only in Tennessee and not only in Connecticut - but across the country, who were saying, ‘can I please tell you my story?’ The reason they did this is because their hearts were breaking. Their children had committed suicide. Their children had met a drug dealer. Their children had met a pedophile. Their child had met a sex trafficker. They had been exposed to cyber bullying and had committed suicide. They were looking up ways to commit suicide. See, there are laws in the physical world that protect children from all of this, but online it has been the Wild West. And as my colleagues have said, we have fought this army of lobbyists for years. Big Tech has proven they are completely incapable of governing themselves, of setting up rules, of having guidelines, of designing for safety. And it is so important that we move forward with this.”
Meta Knew Of The Harms To Kids On Social Media, And Ignored Warnings In Order To Profit
“Now, one thing I will add, and I think is so important for your being here and for our colleagues that weren't a part of what we were doing: In 2021, Mr. Mosseri, when he came before us as the CEO of Instagram, indicated they were taking steps, but we find they were not. We find out from the advice and the awareness that you provided Mark Zuckerberg and Mosseri, what did they do with that? They made a conscious decision to ignore your advice and guidance and use our kids as the product. The longer they're online, the richer that data is. The richer the data is, the more money they make. So they have monetized what comes from our children being addicted to social media. Thank you so much for being here today.”