Marsha Blackburn. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is pushing Snap to "take action to prevent more children from being exposed to sexual predators and explicit adult content while using Snapchat" in a letter seen by Axios and due to be sent to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Monday.

Why it matters: Blackburn's complaint suggests that message services that offer users more privacy and make messages more fleeting — as Snap does now, and Facebook is promising — will not be immune to policymakers' scrutiny and regulatory efforts.

Details:

  • Blackburn's letter says that the messaging service's "disappearing videos are a child predator’s dream," citing cases in which predators allegedly used the application.
  • The letter also raises issues with Snap's map feature, which shows the locations of some users.
  • The lawmaker, who is one of several conservative critics of major tech companies, says in the letter than she is "concerned that Snapchat’s age ratings in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store fail to adequately warn parents and unsuspecting minors of the material they will encounter."

The big picture: Children's online privacy is one area of tech policy that members of both parties frequently agree on.

What they're saying: "Nothing is more important to us than the trust and safety of our community, and we take a zero tolerance approach around these issues," said a Snap spokesperson in a statement. "We’ve designed Snapchat with no browsable public profiles, and by default you can’t receive a message or share location with someone you haven't added as a friend on the app. We work hard to detect, prevent and stop any abuse on our platform, and continue to work proactively with governments, law enforcement and best in class safety organizations to ensure that Snapchat continues to be a positive and safe environment."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Snap.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
18 mins ago - Technology

Candidates go online to cut through debate noise

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

While President Trump and Joe Biden fought to be heard in a rowdy debate Tuesday, both campaigns sought to draw digital battle lines and occupy online turf they could have all to themselves.

The big picture: Trump's impulsive Twitter style made a shambles of the debate format, but online the candidates were able to find niches where they couldn't be interrupted — and could motivate their supporters to donate, organize and turn out to vote.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Shell plans up to 9,000 job cuts by 2022

A Shell station in Brazil. Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell will shed up to 9,000 jobs as it undergoes a long-term restructuring around climate-friendly energy sources and continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic that has battered the oil industry.

Why it matters: The cuts could amount to over 10% of the company's global workforce, which was 83,000 at the end of 2019.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

The coronavirus' alarming impact on the body

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Scientists are racing to learn more about the damage the novel coronavirus can do to the heart, lungs and brain.

Why it matters: It’s becoming increasingly clear that some patients struggle with its health consequences — and costs — far longer than a few weeks.