Appearing before lawmakers Tuesday, social media companies YouTube, TikTok and Snap sought to distance themselves from the backlash facing rival Facebook Inc., emphasizing they have established privacy protections for kids and teens on their platforms.
The executives appeared at a Senate committee hearing a day after a consortium of 17 news outlets, including Bloomberg, published dozens of articles based on troves of leaked Facebook data that detailed how the company prioritized profits over the safety of users -- particularly teenagers -- on its products.
The Senate Commerce Committee’s consumer protection panel, led by Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, are examining efforts by Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok and Snap Inc. to protect the privacy of children and teenagers online.
“Being different from Facebook is not a defense,” Blumenthal said in his opening remarks. “What we want is not a race to the bottom, but really a race to the top.”
Blumenthal said tech companies should not be relying on parents to protect their children’s privacy on their platforms, the features need to be built in.
“I want a market where the competition is to protect children,” he said.