End OSEAC Coalition Calls for Congressional Action to #ProtectKidsOnline


Meta, X, TikTok, Snap, and Discord testify before Senate Judiciary Committee about the safety of their platforms.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 31, 2024 – The End Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children (OSEAC) Coalition, a group of organizations committed to advocacy to further policies that protect children online, supports today’s congressional hearing about online child sexual exploitation. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from the CEOs of Meta, X (formerly known as Twitter), TikTok, Snap, and Discord on their failure to prevent online sexual exploitation of children on their platforms. 

OSEAC is a fast-growing, global crime that includes sextortion, online enticement, livestreamed abuse, and the production and dissemination of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). In 2023, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received more than 36 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation through their CyberTipline, a significant increase since pre-pandemic levels and the highest number of reports ever received in a single year.

The U.S. is one of the top hosts for child sexual abuse content online; it is also host to many major technology companies operating the platforms that enable this content to proliferate globally. These truths indicate that the U.S. must take a leadership role in developing a solution to this grotesque problem. Our government can and should pass legislation that will require certain online safety standards for children using online platforms. 

“The time to act is now. Social media companies have had years to implement safety by design principals,” said ChildFund International’s Coco Lammers, who is also Director of the End OSEAC Coalition. “Every day that major changes aren’t happening, more and more children are exposed to or experiencing harm and not getting the support they need if something has already happened.”

Critics of proposed child online safety legislation express concerns under the banner of free speech or data and user privacy. Australia and the United Kingdom passed online safety bills in 2021 and 2023, respectively. Both countries have continued to maintain free speech and privacy while also requiring tech transparency and safety by design. If Congress passes child online safety legislation, the U.S. will still maintain free speech and privacy rights while safeguarding children’s right to protection. These rights are not mutually exclusive.

“The situation is dire,” says Lammers. “OSEAC will continue to spiral into an even greater global crisis unless Congress passes legislation that meaningfully addresses online child protection.”

The End OSEAC Coalition supports multiple bipartisan bills currently awaiting action from Congress, all of which take steps to help stop the exploitation of kids online: EARN IT Act (S.1207 / H.R.2732), KOSA (S.1409), STOP CSAM Act (S.1199), REPORT Act (S.474/H.R.5082) and SHIELD Act (S.412/H.R.3686).

As the Committee hears testimony from five witnesses representing companies whose platforms are used by millions of Americans and billions of people around the globe, we hope the following topics will be addressed: 

  • Enhancing technology companies’ reporting to NCMEC’s CyberTipline by requiring more substantive reporting information to assist with vital law enforcement to more easily identify children in harm’s way and quickly apprehend perpetrators committing the abuse.
  • Increasing the retention period for content technology companies report to NCMEC’s CyberTipline to further assist law enforcement efforts to identify children in harm’s way and apprehend the perpetrators.
  • The preventative measures Meta and Snap are currently taking to address sextortion on their platforms.
  • Use of existing safety technology to detect and prevent live video child sexual abuse on platforms and apps that allow users to stream or share live video.
  • Use of language analysis tools to detect grooming and online enticement activities.
  • Meta’s investments in technical solutions to detect CSAM in end-to-end encrypted environments.
  • Requirements for tech companies to produce an annual transparency report that meets consistently applied requirements, so that stakeholders can better assess individual companies’ existing efforts and hold them accountable.

About the End OSEAC Coalition

The End Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children (OSEAC) Coalition is a U.S. advocacy coalition that aims to improve U.S. government policies and programs to better prevent and address the online sexual exploitation and abuse of children and provide appropriate support to survivors. Learn more about our mission to #ProtectKidsOnline: endoseac.org

  1. Washington Post: washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/01/28/csam-ncmec-senate-hearing-child-porn
  2.  MIT Technology Review: technologyreview.com/2022/04/26/1051282/the-us-now-hosts-more-child-sexual-abuse-material-online-than-any-other-country; Internet Watch Foundation: annualreport2022.iwf.org.uk/trends-and-data/geographical-hosting-urls 

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