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Senate panel subpoenas CEOs of Discord, Snap and X to testify about children’s safety online

Nov 20, 2023, 2:41 PM

FILE - Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., takes his seat for a markup bu...

FILE - Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., takes his seat for a markup business meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Washington. A Senate committee has issued bipartisan subpoenas to the CEOs of Discord, Snap and X, demanding that the heads of the three companies testify at a December hearing on protecting children online. Durbin and Rep. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced Monday, Nov. 20, that they had issued the subpoenas to Discord CEO Jason Citron, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, formerly known as Twitter. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate committee has issued bipartisan subpoenas to the CEOs of Discord, Snap and X, demanding that the heads of the three companies testify at a December hearing on protecting children online.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the panel, announced Monday that they had issued the subpoenas to Discord CEO Jason Citron, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, formerly known as Twitter, “after repeated refusals to appear” during weeks of negotiations.

“Big Tech’s failure to police itself at the expense of our kids cannot go unanswered,” the two senators said in a statement.

The committee said that “in a remarkable departure from typical practice,” Discord and X refused to accept service of the subpoenas and the panel was forced to enlist the U.S. Marshals Service to personally subpoena the CEOs.

The Dec. 6 hearing will focus on child sexual exploitation online. Durbin and Graham said the committee remains in discussions with both Meta and TikTok and expects their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg and Shou Zi Chew, to testify voluntarily.

Social media companies have faced criticism from lawmakers, regulators and the public for harms their platforms cause to children and teenagers. Most recently, Meta was sued by 41 states and Washington, D.C. for contributing to the youth mental health crisis by knowingly designing features on Instagram and Facebook that addict teenagers to the platforms.

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Associated Press writer Barbara Ortutay in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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Senate panel subpoenas CEOs of Discord, Snap and X to testify about children’s safety online