Congress’s big show of protecting kids online stopped when the cameras did

By Dr. Lyndon Haviland

February 21, 2024

Just a few weeks ago, Senate lawmakers displayed a rare glimpse of bipartisanship when they grilled the CEOs of social media platforms on being asleep at the switch in protecting children from online predators. The hearings were intense, and attended by survivors, family members and advocates. …

In the weeks since the American people have waited patiently for legislation to be brought to the Senate floor that would force the companies represented in that room to take these issues seriously. 

It hasn’t happened. Meta, TikTok, X, Snap and Discord continue to generate billions in ad revenue and provide an open playground for perpetrators to prey on children while enjoying “a broad liability shield” that absolves them of responsibility for what takes place on their platforms. A space the companies know to be unsafe for many young people. 

For the companies, it’s business as usual. For those in Congress, it represents a failed moment, a lost opportunity, to govern and work toward a common goal to protect kids and hold companies accountable.