For immediate release: January 31, 2024


Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a high profile hearing discussing Big Tech companies’ failures related to child safety. Human rights nonprofit Fight for the Future issued the following statement on the hearing, which can be attributed to the group’s director, Evan Greer (she/her):

“Big Tech is harming kids. That’s not up for debate. We commend the parents and young people who are speaking up and demanding that lawmakers do something. Fight for the Future has worked for years to expose and address the harms of Big Tech monopolies and their surveillance capitalist business model. 

But unfortunately, today’s hearing shows once again that many Senators are actively helping Big Tech harm kids because they’re more interested in creating sound bites for TV than the actual work of legislating. 

Experts have repeatedly explained why, as written, dangerous and misguided bills like KOSA, STOP CSAM, and the EARN IT Act would make kids less safe, not more safe. Hundreds of thousands of young people and others have spoken up, calling for legislation that protects privacy rather than leads to censorship. But these bills’ sponsors have so far rejected common-sense fixes that would ensure these bills crack down on Big Tech’s harmful business practices rather than trampling free expression, privacy, and human rights. It’s not a surprise that behemoths like Microsoft are coming out in support of bills like KOSA. They care more about protecting their monopoly power and currying favor in Washington DC than they do about actually helping kids or advancing thoughtful regulation. Companies like Snap have sadly decided to throw trans and LGBTQ kids under the bus in order to cover their own butts.

Dozens of human rights, civil liberties, LGBTQ+, and racial justice groups oppose the reckless legislation being proposed in today’s hearing. Hundreds of parents of transgender kids have specifically urged lawmakers to consider alternatives to KOSA. 

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. These bills could be amended to ensure they target specific harmful business practices like autoplay, infinite scroll, and use of minor’s personal data to power recommendation algorithms, rather than being a blank check for censorship and expanding surveillance. Strict privacy and antitrust legislation would also go a long way toward reducing harm and diminishing the power and dominance of Big Tech giants.

We remain ready to work with lawmakers to address the dangerous flaws in current legislative proposals. There is tremendous urgency. We need lawmakers to listen to both child protection and human rights experts to craft legislation that will actually reduce harm and that does not violate the First Amendment. We need legislation that protects all kids, not legislation that throws some of the most vulnerable kids in our society under the bus.”