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Social media scrutiny continues with YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat

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The month of social media scrutiny continued Tuesday, as executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat testified in front of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. The month began with the same committee hearing from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. She also spoke with the British parliament Monday.

The executives testifying Tuesday are:

  • Michael Beckerman, a TikTok vice president and head of public policy for the Americas
  • Leslie Miller, vice president for government affairs and public policy of YouTube’s owner Google
  • Jennifer Stout, vice president for global public policy of Snapchat parent company, Snap Inc.

The Senate subcommittee hearing is focusing on how YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok treat kids, including how algorithms and product design can impact privacy and increase harm. The subcommittee said social media has been misused to promote things like vandalism in schools, deadly viral challenges, bullying, child sexual abuse and eating disorders.

“We find this on your platforms and teachers and mental health physicians cannot figure out why you allow this to happen,” subcommittee vice chairwoman Sen. Marsha Blackburn said at the hearing.

TikTok recently agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine and delete information for users under 13 as part of a settlement with the FTC. The company was being accused of violating the terms of the children’s privacy act.

TikTok officials say they have tools in place to help young people and parents moderate how long children spend on the app, as well as what they see. The company says it focuses on age-appropriate experiences, noting that some features are not available to younger users.

A separate House committee investigated video service YouTube Kids this year. Lawmakers said the service feeds children “a wasteland of vapid, consumerist content” so it can serve ads to them. A panel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee also told YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki the service doesn’t do enough to protect children from potentially harmful material.

Annie Andersen: REIGNING IN BIG TECH. THE EXECS OF YOUTUBE, SNAPCHAT AND TIKTOK ARE FACING QUESTIONS  FROM LAWMAKERS ABOUT WHAT THEIR COMPANIES ARE DOING TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF YOUNG USERS.

THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING IS FOCUSING  ON HOW THESE TECH COMPANIES TREAT KIDS,  INCLUDING HOW ALGORITHMS  AND PRODUCT DESIGN CAN IMPACT PRIVACY AND INCREASE HARM.

TIK TOK RECENTLY AGREED TO PAY A 5.7 MILLION DOLLAR FINE AND DELETE INFORMATION FOR USERS UNDER 13, AS PART OF A SETTLEMENT WITH THE FTC AFTER BEING ACCUSED OF VIOLATING THE TERMS OF THE CHILDREN’S PRIVACY ACT.

THE SUBCOMMITTEE SAID SOCIAL MEDIA HAS BEEN MISUSED TO PROMOTE THINGS LIKE VANDALISM IN SCHOOLS, DEADLY VIRAL CHALLENGES, BULLYING, AND EVEN EATING DISORDERS.

Marsha Blackburn: ”WE FIND THIS ON YOUR PLATFORMS AND TEACHERS AND MENTAL HEALTH PHYSICIANS CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHY YOU ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN.”

THE HEARING IS PART OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE’S SERIES FOCUSED ON SAFETY MEASURES FOR KIDS, AND THE LEADERS OF THE PANEL HAVE SIGNALED THEY WILL KEEP CRACKING DOWN ON THE COMPANIES.

STRAIGHT FROM DC I’M ANNIE ANDERSEN.

The month of social media scrutiny continued Tuesday, as executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat testified in front of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. The month began with the same committee hearing from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. She also spoke with the British parliament Monday.

The executives testifying Tuesday are:

  • Michael Beckerman, a TikTok vice president and head of public policy for the Americas
  • Leslie Miller, vice president for government affairs and public policy of YouTube’s owner Google
  • Jennifer Stout, vice president for global public policy of Snapchat parent company, Snap Inc.

The Senate subcommittee hearing is focusing on how YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok treat kids, including how algorithms and product design can impact privacy and increase harm. The subcommittee said social media has been misused to promote things like vandalism in schools, deadly viral challenges, bullying, child sexual abuse and eating disorders.

“We find this on your platforms and teachers and mental health physicians cannot figure out why you allow this to happen,” subcommittee vice chairwoman Sen. Marsha Blackburn said at the hearing.

TikTok recently agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine and delete information for users under 13 as part of a settlement with the FTC. The company was being accused of violating the terms of the children’s privacy act.

TikTok officials say they have tools in place to help young people and parents moderate how long children spend on the app, as well as what they see. The company says it focuses on age-appropriate experiences, noting that some features are not available to younger users.

A separate House committee investigated video service YouTube Kids this year. Lawmakers said the service feeds children “a wasteland of vapid, consumerist content” so it can serve ads to them. A panel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee also told YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki the service doesn’t do enough to protect children from potentially harmful material.

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