US Senate Committee issues subpoenas to Discord, Snap and X CEOs. Here why


US Senate Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas to the CEOs of three tech companies – Discord, Snap and X (formerly Twitter) – to compel them to testify at a hearing on 6 December on the sexual exploitation of children online.

The committee is chaired by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The two senators said on Monday they had issued subpoenas to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, X CEO Linda Yaccarino and Discord CEO Jason Citron after the top executives refused to appear before the committee during weeks of negotiations, AP reported.

Committee members also noted that these three CEOs refused to cooperate with the service of subpoenas and that the assistance of the US Marshal Service was eventually enlisted to “personally serve the subpoenas”, Reuters reported.

Senator Dick Durbin while informing about the subpoenas on X (formerly Twitter) wrote, “We promised Big Tech that they’d have their chance to explain their failures to protect kids. Now’s that chance. I’m hauling in Big Tech CEOs before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify on their failure to protect kids online.”

Meanwhile, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew are expected to voluntarily testify at a future hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a joint statement about the hearings, the two senators wrote (as quoted by CNBC), “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.”

Meanwhile, Wilfredo Fernandez, head of US & Canada Government Affairs for X in a statement quoted by Reuters said that the company has been, “working in good faith to participate in the Judiciary committee’s hearing on child protection online as safety is our top priority at X. Today we are communicating our updated availability to participate in a hearing on this important issue.”

(With inputs from Reuters, AP)

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Updated: 21 Nov 2023, 03:08 PM IST

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