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The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a full committee hearing on January 31, 2024, featuring testimony from the CEOs of social media companies Discord, Meta, Snap, TikTok, and X (formerly known as Twitter)—a consensus panel agreed to by Chair Durbin and Ranking Member Graham

The companies range in size, products offered, demographics served, and approaches to address child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse material.

Durbin and the Committee have extensively examined and investigated the plague of online child sexual exploitation, through hearings, legislation, and oversight efforts. This hearing will build on that work and highlight the need for Congress to act on the bipartisan bills reported by the Committee.

Bottom line: Social media companies have failed to police themselves at our kids’ expense, and now Congress must act

The Legislation

Since the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on kids’ online safety in February 2023, the Committee has unanimously 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.

The Timeline

December 16, 2022: Chair Durbin pushes Elon Musk on Twitter’s efforts to eradicate online sexual exploitation, given the apparent disconnect between Mr. Musk’s statements about eradicating online child sexual exploitation on Twitter and his company’s actual efforts to do so.

  • No written response was received.

January 31, 2023: Chair Durbin presses the Justice Department to investigate and curb child sexual exploitation on Twitter in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

February 14, 2023: The Committee holds a full committee hearing on “Protecting Our Children Online” to examine the challenge of ensuring online child safety and privacy, with witnesses testifying to the risks, threats, and harms that children face in the online world.

March 8, 2023: The Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, led by Senator Blumenthal, holds a hearing entitled, “Platform Accountability: Gonzalez and Reform” to examine social media platform accountability and opportunities for reform.

April 19, 2023: Chair Durbin introduces the STOP CSAM Act to crack down on the proliferation of child sex abuse material online.

April 20, 2023: Chair Durbin unveils new efforts to protect children’s online safety on the Senate floor.

April 26, 2023: Chair Durbin meets with the Keep Kids Safe Coalition to discuss efforts to protect children from exploitation.

May 4, 2023: The Committee unanimously advances the EARN IT Act to the full Senate.

May 11, 2023: The Committee unanimously advances the STOP CSAM Act, the SHIELD Act, and the Project Safe Childhood Act to the full Senate.

May 17, 2023: Chair Durbin calls on his colleagues to support the Committee’s efforts to protect children’s safety online in a speech on the Senate floor.

June 1, 2023: The Committee unanimously advances the REPORT Act to the full Senate.

June 8, 2023: Chair Durbin returns to the Senate floor to call on his colleagues to support the bipartisan package of bills to protect kids from online sexual exploitation.

June 20, 2023: Chair Durbin and Ranking Member Graham introduce bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Missing Children’s Assistance Act.

June 30, 2023: Chair Durbin and Ranking Member Graham lead a bipartisan group of ten committee members in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg on child sex offenders on Instagram.

  • The Committee received a response from Meta on October 9, 2023.

September 27, 2023: Chair Durbin returns to the Senate floor to call on his colleagues to take action on the bipartisan package of bills to protect child safety online.

November 1, 2023: Chair Durbin discusses efforts to protect children online with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), the first organization to endorse the STOP CSAM Act.

November 7, 2023: The Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law holds a hearing entitled “Social Media and the Teen Mental Health Crisis” with Facebook whistleblower Arturo Béjar, former Director of Engineering for Facebook’s Protect and Care team.

November 15, 2023: A bipartisan group of Senators demand documents from Mark Zuckerberg after newly unsealed court filings allege that Meta hid evidence of harms to kids from Congress and the public, supporting Arturo Béjar’s November 7th testimony.

  • Meta has begun providing documents in response.

November 20, 2023: Chair Durbin and Ranking Member Graham announce subpoenas to the CEOs of Discord, Snap, and X to testify at a full committee hearing, following refusals to cooperate. 

November 29, 2023: Chair Durbin and Ranking Member Graham announce that the CEOs of Discord, Meta, Snap, TikTok, and X will testify before the committee on January 31, 2024.