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Scoop: Senators push back online kids' safety hearing

Nov 27, 2023
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate Judiciary Committee is moving an online child sexual exploitation hearing to January and has secured another tech CEO to testify, the committee told Axios a week after issuing subpoenas to three social media platforms.

What's happening: The hearing — originally set for Dec. 6 — will now be rescheduled for sometime in January 2024, according to a committee spokesperson, and Discord's CEO has accepted the subpoena.

  • Sens. Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham last week announced they had sent subpoenas to Discord CEO Jason Citron, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and X CEO Linda Yaccarino to compel them to testify at an upcoming hearing.
  • The senators said they expect Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear voluntarily.

What they're saying: Ross LaJeunesse, Discord's vice president and global head of public policy, wrote in a Nov. 22 letter to the senators obtained by Axios that Citron would be available to testify "alongside other company CEOs."

  • Discord said in the letter they wanted to offer other high-level employees to testify, but committee staff "seems to disagree."
  • Snap spokesperson Pete Boogaard told Axios last week that the company's CEO "has already agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and our team is coordinating with Committee staff on potential dates."
  • X did not respond to a request for comment.

Of note: The press release announcing the subpoenas said that in a "remarkable departure from typical practice" both Discord and X "refused to cooperate by accepting service of the subpoenas on behalf of their CEOs, requiring the Committee to enlist the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service to personally serve the subpoenas."

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