Senators subpoena Musk X, Snap CEOs to testify on child safety

A Senate panel announced Monday that it has subpoenaed the CEOs of Elon Musk's X, Discord and Snap to testify at a hearing on children's online safety next month after the tech companies “repeatedly refused” to cooperate with its investigation into the matter.

In a rare show of force, Senate Judiciary Committee leaders are trying to get X's Linda Iaccarino, Discord's Jason Citron and Snap's Evan Spiegel to appear at a Dec. 6 hearing, which the panel said in a news release would “authorize the committee. Members pressed the CEOs of some of the world's biggest social media companies over their failure to protect children online.

The move represents a major escalation by lawmakers examining how social media platforms can harm children's mental health, an area of ​​broad bipartisan interest on Capitol Hill.

The committee said it also expects Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shu Zichu to appear voluntarily. Discord spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Meta and TikTok declined to comment.

Vifredo Fernandez, X's head of government affairs for the United States and Canada, said in an emailed statement that the company is “working in good faith to participate in the Judiciary Committee's hearing on protecting children online because safety is our top priority at X. “

“Today we are announcing our renewed availability to participate in a hearing on this important matter,” Fernandez said. It would be Iaccarino's first congressional testimony as X's CEO.

“Snap's CEO has already agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and our team is coordinating with committee staff on potential dates,” Snap spokesman Pete Boogaard said in a statement.

While high-tech executives like Zuckerberg have repeatedly testified before Congress about a number of issues in recent years, they have typically appeared voluntarily.

Senate Judiciary leaders and lawmakers from other congressional panels have spent months pushing legislation aimed at creating new online safeguards for children and teens, but the push has stalled amid policy disagreements between House and Senate lawmakers.

The committee said that in a “significant departure from typical practice” it had to “enlist the assistance of the US Marshals Service to personally serve subpoenas” to the CEOs of Discord and X, formerly Twitter, after their CEOs “again refused.” . cooperation.”

A hearing is scheduled for online child sexual exploitation.