Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wrote a letter to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, contending that the social media platform “fails to provide parents with adequate warnings about the platform’s dangers,” including adult content and child predators.
The Tennessee senator wrote to Spiegel, contending a large part of Snapchat’s growth revolves around its “growing base of 16.4 million teen users” and that Snapchat often fails to notify parents with adequate warnings about adult content on the platform.
“In 2019, our children are living an unprecedented amount of their young lives online,” said Sen. Blackburn on Monday. “Snap must be transparent with users about the steps they take to ensure their application is used responsibly and not taken advantage of by those who wish to do innocent children harm.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also recently introduced legislation to stop video platforms such as YouTube from recommending videos featuring children. Hawley said that the bill would stop YouTube from “catering to pedophiles.”
“Parents want to be able to post videos of their kids without having creepy stalkers then try to contact or follow around their children,” said Hawley.
Further, Sen. Blackburn has enabled child predators to contact potential “minor victims.”
Blackburn noted a couple of recent stories, including:
In 2017, a California man was arrested after coercing six young boys, between the ages of 12 and 15, living in Illinois, Texas, Georgia and Tennessee, to send sexually explicit videos of themselves on Snapchat. Earlier this year, a Massachusetts man was charged with child sexual exploitation after he was caught posing as a teenage girl on Snapchat to extort nude photos of other minors.
Sen. Blackburn also suggested that many minors can readily gain access to adult content through Snapchat’s “Discover” section and subscription channels.
“Even if minors are not exposed to sexual predators, they are exposed to unsolicited, provocative images via advertisements, channels, and search results generated by Snapchat itself,” she wrote.
The Tennessee conservative said Snapchat’s adherence to the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) “no longer sufficiently” protects “our children in the new social media age.”
Sen. Blackburn also noted that the National Center on Sexual Exploitation called for an “independent review board” to ensure that smartphone apps such as Snapchat are rated correctly. The review board would function in a similar manner to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which monitors and rates video games, and the Motion Picture Association of America, which rates movies.
Read Sen. Blackburn’s letter to Spiegel here.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.