Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) slammed Facebook for hiring an “army of lawyers and lobbyists” to protect Mark Zuckerberg’s company from regulation during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Blackburn grilled Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, over the company’s perceived inability to curb online child sexual exploitation. The Tennessee senator has long hounded big tech platforms for failing to do enough to protect children who use big tech platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok from child predators.
“There is a lot that is slipping through,” Blackburn told Zuckerberg, as he said that Facebook and Meta’s other platforms are trying to protect children’s online safety.
Blackburn took issue with Meta for funding many D.C.-based organizations to help protect them from regulation.
“The problem is, Sen. [Peter] Welch over there, we have been working on this stuff for a decade, you have an army of lawyers and lobbyists that have fought us on this every step of the way,” Blackburn charged.
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
“You work with NetChoice, the CATO Institute, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and the Chamber of Progress to actually fight our bipartisan legislation to keep kids safe online. So are you going to stop funding these groups? Are you going to stop lobbying against this and come to the table and work with us? Yes or no?”
“Of course, we will work with you on the legislation,” Zuckerberg said.
Blackburn introduced the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act) which aims to combat child online sexual exploitation and removes blanket legal immunity for violations of laws to online child sexual abuse material (CSAM). +
The bill, according to a press release from Blackburn’s office, would:
- Create a strong incentive for the tech industry to take online child sexual exploitation seriously. The bill amends Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to remove blanket immunity from Federal civil, State criminal, and State civil child sexual abuse material laws entirely. Service providers will now be treated like everyone else when it comes to combating child sexual exploitation and eradicating CSAM, creating accountability.
- Establishe a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention that will be responsible for developing voluntary best practices. The Commission consists of the heads of DOJ, DHS, and FTC, along with 16 other members appointed equally by Congressional leadership, including representatives from: law enforcement, survivors and victims’ services organizations, constitutional law experts, technical experts, and industry.
- Recourse for survivors and tools for enforcement. The bill bolsters enforcement of child sexual abuse material statutes and allows survivors civil recourse.
“The door is open, we’ve got all of these bills, you need to come to the table, each and every one of you [the big tech CEOs] need to come to the table, and you need to work with us, kids are dying,” she said.
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.