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Senate subpoenas CEOs of Elon Musk’s X, Snap to testify on kids’ safety

A Senate panel announced Monday it subpoenaed the CEOs of Elon Musk’s X, Discord and Snap to testify at a hearing on children’s online safety next month after “repeated refusals” by the tech companies to cooperate with its investigation into the matter.

In a rare show of force, the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee are seeking to force X’s Linda Yaccarino, Discord’s Jason Citron and Snap’s Evan Spiegel to appear at the Dec. 6 session, which the panel said in a press release would “allow Committee members to press CEOs from some of the world’s largest social media companies on their failures to protect children online.”

The committee announced that it also expects Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to appear voluntarily. Spokespeople for Snap, Discord and TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Meta declined to comment.

Wifredo Fernandez, X’s head of government affairs for the U.S. and Canada, said in an emailed statement that the company has “been working in good faith to participate in the Judiciary committee’s hearing on child protection online as safety is our top priority at X.”

“Today we are communicating our updated availability to participate in a hearing on this important issue,” Fernandez said. It would mark Yaccarino’s first time testifying in Congress as X’s CEO.

The rare move marks a major escalation by lawmakers probing how social media platforms may harm children’s mental health, an area of broad bipartisan interest on Capitol Hill.

While top tech executives such as Zuckerberg have repeatedly testified in Congress on an array of issues in recent years, they have typically appeared voluntarily.

Senate Judiciary leaders and lawmakers on other congressional panels for months have been pushing for legislation intended to create new guardrails for children and teens on the internet, but the push has stalled amid policy disagreements between House and Senate lawmakers.

The committee said that in a “remarkable departure from typical practice,” it had to “enlist the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service to personally serve the subpoenas” to the CEOs of Discord and X, formerly Twitter, after their chief executives “further refused to cooperate.”

The hearing is set to focus on child sexual exploitation online.

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