Senators put YouTube, TikTok, Snap on defensive on kids’ use

2021-10-26 13:55:08 –

Washington — Senator put YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat executives on Tuesday’s defense and asked what they’re doing to keep young users safe on the platform.

From eating disorders to exposure to sexually explicit content and materials promoting addictive drugs, lawmakers cite the potential harm that sites can do to vulnerable young people on social media. We also sought executive support for legislation that strengthens the protection of children. However, they received little firm commitment.

“The problem is clear. Big Tech is preying on children and teens to make more money,” said Senator Edward Marquee of D-Mass, Senator Trade Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. Said at the hearing.

The subcommittee recently took testimony from a former Facebook data scientist. He released an in-house survey showing that the company’s Instagram photo-sharing service seems to be doing serious harm to some teens. The subcommittee is expanding its focus to explore other technology platforms with millions or billions of users competing for youth attention and loyalty.

D-Conn, the chair of the panel. Senator Richard Blumenthal said he was “listening to the same harm” caused by YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat.

“This is a big cigarette moment for Big Tech … it’s a calculation moment,” he said. “Accountable. Not this time.”

To that end, Marquee asked three executives — Michael Beckerman, Vice President of TikTok and Head of Public Policy in the Americas. Leslie Miller, Vice President of Government and Public Policy at Google, the owner of YouTube. Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat. Jennifer Stout, Vice President of Global Public Policy, gives children new privacy rights and upholds bipartisan legislation banning children’s targeted advertising and automatic video playback.

In a long exchange when Marquee tried to elicit a commitment to support, executives avoided providing direct approval and claimed that their platform complied with the limits already proposed. They said they were seeking dialogue with lawmakers as the legislation was being drafted.

That wasn’t enough for Marquee and Blumenthol, who recognized classic Washington lobbying at the moment of the crisis in the social media and tech industry. “This is the story we saw over and over again,” Blumenthol told them. He said that praising legislative goals in a general way is “meaningless” unless supported by specific support.

“Sex and narcotics violate our community standards. It doesn’t help TikTok at all,” Beckerman said. TikTok provides tools such as screen time management to help young people and parents reduce the time and things their children spend on the app and what they see.

According to the company, the focus is on age-appropriate experiences, and some features such as direct messaging are not available to younger users. The video platform, which is very popular with children under the age of teens, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. In just five years since its launch, it has an estimated 1 billion monthly users.

Earlier this year, the platform strengthened privacy practices for users under the age of 18 after federal regulators ordered TikTok to disclose how that practice affects children and teens.

Pushed by Senator Amy Klobuchar, about 19 years old, who allegedly died from counterfeit painkillers purchased through Snapchat, Stout was “absolutely determined to eliminate all drug dealers from Snapchat. I have. ” She said the platform had deployed detection measures to dealers, but admitted that they were often circumvented.

Stout argued that Snapchat’s platform differs from other platforms in that it relies on humans rather than artificial intelligence to moderate content.

With Snapchat, you can send photos, videos, and messages that you want to disappear quickly. This attracts young users who are trying to avoid snooping on parents and teachers. Therefore, its “Ghostface Chillah” faceless (and wordless) white logo.

According to Snapchat, just 10 years old, a stunning 90% of US 13-24 year olds use the service. The number of users per day for the July-September quarter was 306 million.

According to Miller, YouTube has been working to provide children and families with time-limited protection and parental controls to limit viewing to age-appropriate content.

The three platforms are woven into the structure of youth life, often influencing dresses, dance moves, diet and potentially attachment. The pressure from friends to ride the app is strong. Social media can provide entertainment and education, but platforms have been abused to foster children’s injuries, bullying, school vandalism, eating disorders, and operational marketing. The legislator says.

The Panel wants to learn how algorithms and product designs increase harm to children and contribute to addiction and privacy breaches. And Blumenthol specifically asked executives if an independent study was conducted on the impact of the platform on young people. He said he hopes lawmakers will soon receive information about such studies from companies.

TikTok, who testified for the first time before parliament, received particularly intense criticism at hearings, especially from conservative Republicans who emphasized China’s ownership. According to the company, all TikTok US data is stored in the United States and its backup facility is in Singapore.

“TikTok actually collects less data than many of our peers,” Beckerman said.

Senator Ted Cruz of R-Texas told Beckerman that he avoided asking questions more than any witness he had ever seen in Congress.

TikTok’s privacy policy states that “all information we collect may be shared with the Group’s parent, subsidiaries, or other affiliates.” Senator digs into whether “other affiliates” include ByteDance and what that means for data access in China.


O’Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.


Follow Marcy Gordon on https://twitter.com/mgordonap

Senators put YouTube, TikTok, Snap on defensive on kids’ use Source link Senators put YouTube, TikTok, Snap on defensive on kids’ use

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