Durbin, Graham Announce Subpoenas to Big Tech CEOs to Testify About Their Failure to Protect Children Online
Subpoenas issued to CEOs of Discord, Snap, and X prior to December 6th hearing: “We promised Big Tech that they’d have their chance to explain their failures to protect kids. Now’s that chance.”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that subpoenas have been issued to the CEOs of Discord, Snap, and X (formerly known as Twitter) to testify at the December 6 full committee hearing on online child sexual exploitation. The Committee remains in discussion with Meta and TikTok and expects their CEOs—Mark Zuckerberg and Shou Zi Chew—will agree to testify voluntarily.
The hearing will allow Committee members to press CEOs from some of the world’s largest social media companies on their failures to protect children online.
“Since the beginning of this Congress, our Committee has rallied around a key bipartisan issue: protecting children from the dangers of the online world. It’s at the top of every parent’s mind, and Big Tech’s failure to police itself at the expense of our kids cannot go unanswered,” said Durbin and Graham. “At our February hearing on protecting children’s safety online, we promised Big Tech that they’d have their chance to explain their failures to protect kids. Now’s that chance. Hearing from the CEOs of some of the world’s largest social media companies will help inform the Committee’s efforts to address the crisis of online child sexual exploitation.”
After repeated refusals to appear during several weeks of negotiations, subpoenas have been issued to the following witnesses:
- Jason Citron, CEO of Discord
- Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap Inc.
- Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X (formerly known as Twitter)
In a remarkable departure from typical practice, Discord and X have further refused to cooperate by accepting service of the subpoenas on behalf of their CEOs, requiring the Committee to enlist the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service to personally serve the subpoenas.
Full text of the subpoena issued to the CEO of Discord is available here.
Full text of the subpoena issued to the CEO of Snap is available here.
Full text of the subpoena issued to the CEO of X is available here.
Since the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on this issue in February, the Committee has reported multiple bipartisan bills to help stop the exploitation of kids online, including:
- The STOP CSAM Act, which supports victims and increases accountability and transparency for online platforms;
- The EARN IT Act, which removes tech’s blanket immunity from civil and criminal liability under child sexual abuse material laws and establishes a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention;
- The SHIELD Act, which ensures that federal prosecutors have appropriate and effective tools to address the nonconsensual distribution of sexual imagery;
- The Project Safe Childhood Act, which modernizes the investigation and prosecution of online child exploitation crimes; and,
- The REPORT Act, which combats the rise in online child sexual exploitation by establishing new measures to help strengthen reporting of those crimes to the CyberTipline.
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