US: Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube questioned over child safety online

Policy representatives from Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube deposed before US lawmakers to respond to questions related to child safety on their platforms. Platforms were asked on what they are doing more to protect children, following the revelation of the leaked Instagram report pointing to issues of teenage mental health issues.

Jennifer Stout, Snapchat’s VP of Global Public Policy,  Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s VP and head of Public Policy  and Leslie Miller, who leads government affairs and public policy at YouTube testified before the US lawmakers.

The senate panel was keen to understand whether the algorithms and  product designs used by these platforms  can magnify harm to children, such as encouraging addiction or breaching their privacy so that they can suggest appropriate regulatory safeguards for child protection.

The companies while testifying tried to distance themselves from the allegations faced by Facebook. TikTok, Snapchat argued and defended  that their platforms are safe and are built to protect children against risks for  mental health and other safety risks. Further platform representatives expressed commitment to share internal research reports on how their products impact children.

However, the argument of trying to highlight the difference among platforms and their safety features did not go well with many senators such as Marsha Blackburn and Senator Richard Blumenthal.