February 2, 2024

Enough Is Enough® Calls on Congress to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Address Online Exploitation Crisis

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from five top social media CEOs including Meta, Discord, X (formerly Twitter), Snapchat and TikTok during a hearing on “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis”. For many, including Enough Is Enough®, which has been fighting to make the internet safer for children and families for three decades, this hearing was considered “a day of reckoning” as industry CEOs were called upon to confront the harms their platforms have caused to children and teens.

It is abundantly clear Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a legal protection shielding social media companies from liability from content posted on its platform, must be repealed in order to address the realities of dangers existing on social media platforms used by millions of children worldwide. It is conceivable that Section 230 could be repealed with a single sentence: "Section 509 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is hereby repealed." That section is found in 47 USC Section 230 in toto.  

Further, we must “rein in Big Tech” by passing key legislation designed to protect children from online harms, including the Kids Online Safety Act, which provides kids and parents with the tools, safeguards, and transparency they need to protect against threats to children’s health and well-being online, and the EARN IT Act, which removes tech’s blanket immunity from civil and criminal liability under child sexual abuse material laws and establishes a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention.

We’re beyond the point of needing additional Congressional hearings and research to know that these platforms are being used to sexually exploit children around the world. Nor, should it take any more heartbreaking stories from families whose children have suffered immensely or taken their own lives after being “sextorted”, humiliated or bullied online.

Children are suffering mental health and body image issues, are a swipe away from purchasing products or drugs that are dangerous or even fatal, subject to having sexually explicit images of themselves live on online platforms indefinitely, and are prone to receiving targeted, harmful content.

Safety measures were put into place when car manufacturers were told they must include seatbelts. The tobacco industry needed to put warning labels on its packaging and refrain from advertising to children. Now it’s time for Big Tech to be accountable for what Senate Chair Dick Durbin called the “crisis” of online child exploitation during the hearing and have regulations in place to keep their users safe. Profit must never be prioritized over child safety. It is clear that Big Tech isn’t going to self-regulate. Children are counting on us to step up and advocate on their behalf. They deserve nothing less.