Congress Must Act to Hold Big Tech Accountable

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (January 31, 2024) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) issued a statement in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with CEOs of Meta, Snapchat, TikTok, X, and Discord.

“We witnessed an astounding lack of true remorse from tech CEOs for the children who have been traumatized and have even died as a result of their inherently dangerous platforms. Children are being threatened, harassed, sextorted, sexually abused, and exposed to extreme harms online to the point where they believe ending their lives is the only option,” said Lina Nealon, Vice President and Director of Corporate Advocacy, National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Our hearts go out to the courageous parents present at the hearing who have suffered the tragic loss of their children from social media harms and we hope their witness will convince Congress to pass crucial child protection legislation.”

“We heard multiple lies and excuses at today’s hearing. For instance, Discord’s teen safety feature that automatically blurs sexually explicit media has not yet been fully implemented, despite the CEO’s claim. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation and allies brought to Meta’s attention the existence of pedophile networks on its platforms in 2018. Snapchat touted their Parent Center – yet only 2% of teens are connected and the protection tools, like filtering out sexually inappropriate content – are not even available to teens if they are not connected to an adult.

“These corporations not only protect pedophiles and predators, but the companies also are the perpetrators of these harms they know are happening on their dangerous-by-design platforms. Yet they are either unwilling or unable to adequately address them. Neither reason should be accepted as an excuse.

“It has been proven that time and time again they’ve looked the other way when it comes to online harms targeting our children – and in Meta’s case, conscious choices  were made to invest in other features over child protection. They push parental controls as the answer, but the reality is that multifaceted solutions are necessary. Parental controls put the burden of protection on parents, not tech companies in what is an almost unwinnable battle to keep kids safe. And with Meta’s end-to-end encryption on minor accounts, child sexual abuse cannot be detected – parental controls will literally not work in these situations.

“The elephant in the room was CDA Section 230, tech’s current liability shield that has protected tech, not those who have been victimized by sexual abuse and exploitation online. Section 230 is the single greatest enabler of online sexual abuse and exploitation. We were encouraged that Senators appear to recognize the harm Section 230 has enabled and we hope to see this change.

“Congress must pass a series of child protection bills including the EARN IT Act; Preventing Child Sex Abuse Act; the Kids Online Safety Act; Project Safe Childhood Act; REPORT Act; and the Child Safety Modernization Act. It is time for Congress to act. We must accept no more excuses for exploitation from Big Tech. We must accept no more excuses from Congress for inaction!”

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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