The executives of X, Meta, Snap, TikTok and Discord have been called to testify before a Senate judicial hearing on online child sexual exploitation.
Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Monday that they have subpoenaed the CEOs of X, Discord and Snap. The senators said they expected Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to testify voluntarily, based on conversations they said took place between the members of the committee and the companies.
In a joint statement, the senators said they were seeking to compel the leaders to testify at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 6, where they “would have the opportunity to explain their failures to protect children.”
But Linda Yaccarino of X, Jason Citron of Discord and Evan Spiegel of Snap were less cooperative, according to the senators’ representatives.
A representative for Durbin said that X and Discord refused electronic service of the subpoenas and that the senator’s office hired U.S. marshals to serve them.
“After repeated refusals to appear during several weeks of negotiations, subpoenas were issued,” the senators said in a statement. “In a remarkable departure from standard practice, Discord and personally serve subpoenas.”
Wifredo Fernandez, head of U.S. and Canadian government affairs at X, said the company was working to comply with the subpoena.
“We worked in good faith to participate in the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on protecting children online because safety is our top priority at X,” he wrote in an email. “Today we are communicating our updated availability to participate in a hearing on this important issue.”
In a statement, a Snap spokesperson said: “Snap’s CEO has already agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and our team is coordinating with Committee staff to set potential dates. We appreciate the opportunity to appear before the Committee to discuss this vital issue. »
A TikTok spokesperson said conversations with the committee were ongoing.
Meta declined to comment. Discord did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meta, TikTok, Discord,
In a review of court cases, NBC News identified 35 cases over the past six years in which adults were prosecuted for kidnapping, grooming or sexual assault that allegedly involved communications on Discord.
Investigations by other media outlets have also revealed that other social media platforms continue to be used for child exploitation.
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