TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube questioned by US lawmakers about child safety

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube were in the hot seat as United States lawmakers questioned the tech companies on their influence on kids.

“Parents of America cannot trust these apps with their children,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said.

Blumenthal says after the recent leak from Facebook, social media companies need to show how they will keep kids safe.

“I want a market where the competition is to protect children, not to exploit them,” Blumenthal said.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn shares those concerns and questions the goals of the social media giants.

“You have children on these platforms that are too young to be on these platforms and you allow it to continue because it’s money,” Blackburn said.

All three companies said they have taken steps to protect children and emphasized that apps like Snapchat are not for those under the age of 13.

“We are developing new tools that will give parents more oversight over how their teens are using Snapchat,” Jennifer Stout, Snap Inc. Global Public Policy VP, said.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wants full cooperation from big tech on legislation protecting teenagers’ data.

“This is just what drives us crazy. We want to talk, we want to talk, we want to talk. This bill’s been out there for years and you still don’t have a view on it,” Markey said.

“We like your approach, however, I think a piece that should be included is a better way to verify age, across the internet,” Michael Beckerman, TikTok Americas VP, said.

YouTube also agreed on the direction of Markey’s legislation and despite the actions taken so far, Democrats and Republicans want to see more.

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