Child safety has been a major concern in the social media world for a long time now and every time we think about child safety, we automatically route towards Facebook. Well, it is in the gutter at the moment and Facebook is not the only social media player that children and teenagers are addicted to. For the first time, TikTok, YouTube and Snap Inc. were part of a serious meeting with the lawmakers on concerns of child safety.
According to recent reports, the Senate Commerce Committee conducted a three-hour-long meeting with representatives from YouTube, Snap Inc. and TikTok to discuss about the concerns regarding child safety and social media’s effect on teenagers and children.
Interestingly, after listening to the promises made by these social media giants, the lawmakers were not impressed and commented that they need to do more in order to protect children. The popularity of these social media platforms is not unknown, yet, when it comes to social media, all regulatory bodies just face towards Facebook (pun intended) and target the social media conglomerate for the same reason. This was the first time that these other platforms were included and held accountable for not protecting children and having negative effects on children.
Facebook was compared to tobacco companies in this meeting for the kind of effect it is having on children. However, all the other three companies- YouTube, Snap Inc. and TikTok were defending themselves by saying that they are not Facebook. Each company announced their plans to launch new features that would work for the benefit of children and promised to protect them by ramping up parental controls and other child protection features on their services.
Still, it seems like these companies are not doing enough. The senators of the Commerce Committee, however, seemed to be unimpressed by these promises and pushed on the point to make algorithmic changes on their platform that apparently boost negative content on the platforms.
Facebook was not a part of this three-hour-long meeting because it is already under massive scrutiny on the whistleblower Frances Haugen’s case. But the senators pointed out that just not being Facebook does not put these companies out of fence.
As mentioned in a report by Engadget, one of the senators said, “I understand from your testimony that your defence is ‘we’re not Facebook,’” he said. “Being different from Facebook is not a defence. That bar is in the gutter. It’s not a defence to say that you are different.”