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E&C Republicans to Big Tech: Your Platforms Are Harming our Children


03.25.21

Washington, D.C. — Today, Energy and Commerce Republicans pushed Big Tech on how their platforms hurt children’s mental health and well-being.  

In case you missed it: 

Here are some highlights from Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Subcommittee Leaders Bob Latta and Gus Bilirakis: 

KEY: You’ve broken my trust. Yes, because you’ve failed to promote the battle of ideas and free speech. Yes, because you censor political viewpoints you disagree with. Those polarizing actions matter for democracy. But, do you know what has convinced me Big Tech is a destructive force?  It’s how you’ve abused your power to manipulate and harm our children. Your platforms are my biggest fear as a parent. I’m a mom of three school-aged kids. My husband and I are fighting the Big Tech battles in our household every day. It’s a battle for their development, a battle for their mental health, and ultimately, a battle for their safety. I’ve monitored where your algorithms lead them. It’s frightening. I know I’m not alone.” — Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers 

It is time to hold Big Tech accountable for the harm they are causing our children. Children like Amanda Todd. 

Amanda Todd was just 15 years old when she hung herself. Amanda met a man online who took inappropriate screen shots of Amanda and proceeded to follow her around the Internet and harass her for years. He found her classmates on Facebook and would send them the picture he took of her. To cope with the anxiety, Amanda turned to drugs and alcohol, but it became too much.   

“Mr. Zuckerberg, clearly Ms. Todd was underage so the photo that was being shared to harass her was illegal. Do you think Facebook bears any responsibility for the role it played in her death? Do you think Facebook should be held accountable for the role it played in her death? — Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader for Communications and Technology Bob Latta 

Energy and Commerce Republicans reached out to the public ahead of today’s hearing, and received overwhelming feedback from thousands of Americans from across the countryThey overwhelmingly confirmed they don’t trust Big Tech and they want more transparency on how Big Tech runs their platforms. 

“As the new Republican leader on the Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee, I have been digging into how your companies operate. That led me to run a survey of my district following our Big Tech hearing announcement. The conclusion is my constituents simply don’t trust you anymore. With thousands of responses, over 82% said they do not trust Big Tech to be good stewards of their platforms or consistently enforce their policies. That includes my constituent who told me ‘we were providing information to local families on Teen Suicide Risks on Facebook Livestream, and it was blocked by Facebook.’” — Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader for Consumer Protection and Commerce Gus Bilirakis 

BOTTOM LINE: Big Tech has grown too powerful. They have not been responsible stewards of their platforms, which is having harmful consequences for our children. Rep. Bill Johnson drew comparisons between Big Tech’s power and addiction-creating algorithms to Big Tobacco and demanded accountability: 

NOTEAt the beginning of this year, Energy and Commerce Republicans released the Big Tech Accountability Platform. A key priority in this platform is to explore and expose how Big Tech hurts children, how Big Tech contributes to suicide and anxiety, how Big Tech uses algorithms to drive addiction, and the role of Big Tech plays in child grooming and trafficking. CLICK HERE to read the platform.  

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