(LibertySons.org) – Executives from the top social media networks in the US recently met with the Senate to answer for the alleged damage their platforms have caused children. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, apologized to families who’ve suffered some of the biggest impacts. Members of the Senate weren’t impressed, criticizing him and other tech leaders for not doing enough to keep the country’s children safe.
ABC News reports that Zuckerberg, along with X executive Linda Yaccarino, TikTok representative Shou Chew, Jason Citron of Discord, and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, faced the Senate on January 31. Lawmakers slammed the tech leaders with accusations that their platforms threatened the health and well-being of younger users.
They also raised questions about the measures each of the websites was taking to protect children against abuse and exploitation. Senate members grilled the executives for about four hours, hitting them with allegations that their companies’ lobbying efforts have hindered lawmakers’ efforts to create safeguards and rein in the threat.
The American Psychological Association states that the minds of young people, particularly those between 10 and 25 years old, are wired to seek social rewards, but they are still too undeveloped to be able to moderate themselves. As a result, an estimated 50% of teens have exhibited at least one symptom of social media dependency.
They’re also likely to base their social standing on “likes” rather than actual relationships, affecting self-esteem. Regular use may impede neural development, as well as literally altering the structure of the brain.
Exploitation is another major concern. Online material containing child sexual abuse has skyrocketed in the last decade, and children are vulnerable to predators who are selling black-market drugs over internet platforms. Several lawmakers are currently pushing to pass the Kids Online Safety Act, which would hold tech companies responsible for any detrimental effects their platforms cause to children who access them. Not surprisingly, social media executives appear hesitant to offer their full support.
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