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TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat executives testify on kids’ social media safety at Senate hearing | FULL

CA, 27 Oct 2021
TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube executives testified to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, as the Senate Commerce Consumer Protection Subcommittee held a hearing on protecting children online.

In setting the hearing, the Senate Commerce Committee said the popular apps have "been misused to harm kids and promote destructive acts, such as vandalism in schools, deadly viral challenges, bullying, eating disorders, manipulative influencer marketing and grooming."

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) questioned vice-president of global public policy at Snap Inc. Jennifer Stout over children’s access to drugs through Snapchat, referencing a case where a child died from a pill bought through the app. Stout said the issue “is such a top priority for our entire company" and suggested working collectively with other platforms.

Head of public policy for the Americas at TikTok Michael Beckerman, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, was pressed by lawmakers over the app's affiliation with China.

Beckerman denied that it has given information to the Chinese government and said the company has taken steps to safeguard U.S. data. He said TikTok would be willing to provide the app's algorithm moderation policies in order for the Senate panel to have it reviewed by independent experts.

The hearing is the latest part of a lengthy inquiry into what lawmakers from both parties see as Big Tech's increasingly negative influence on competition, society and children.

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