Hello and welcome to Everything in Moderation, your guide to the policies, products, platforms and people shaping the future of online speech and the internet. It's written by me, Ben Whitelaw and supported by members like you.
The power of online safety as a topic, an industry and a profession was clear this week. Not only did the CEOs of five multi-billion dollar companies have to answer a barrage of questions in Congress but another was forced to give an extended interview about his company's commitment to keeping users safe. It's hard to think of another topic that could attract such political interest or force CEOs to be that open.
And while much focus was on Washington, I was heartened by the global community of online safety professionals subscribing to EiM — folks from Australia, Hungary, Canada, Myanmar, Germany, the UK, Belgium as well as across the United States. Thanks to David for recommending the newsletter and inspiring an influx of new faces. Do say hello, whether you're new or otherwise.
Every week, I round up the must-read online safety and internet regulation news from the seven days. Here is this week's links — BW
Today's edition is in partnership with All Things in Moderation, the global gathering for humans who moderate
Good news for moderation practitioners, leading researchers, policymakers and those invested in the governance of digital social spaces - the second edition of All Things in Moderation will take place in May 2024!
The two-day virtual summit will focus on 'Moderating in an Age of Crisis' and will include a host of great keynotes, workshops, and panels. I took part last year and it was excellent. Early-bird tickets just went on sale so get one while you can...
New and emerging internet policy and online speech regulation
The Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on child sexual abuse material (CSAM) with five US tech CEOs (EiM #232) took place on Wednesday and was hard not to watch. It yielded a bunch of frothy headlines but, in all honesty, there was little that was hugely surprising (see Posts of note).
In case you missed it:
- Shou Zi Chew said TikTok will spend $2bn on protecting users on the platform this year with more than 40,000 people working on safety initiatives
- Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologised to parents that had lost children for having to "go through the things your families have suffered" and called on Apple and Google to introduce app store age gating.
- Snap CEO Evan Spiegel reiterated his support the Kids Online Safety Act — which civil society organisations have raised concerns about — while X/Twitter's Linda Yaccarino also backed it and the Stop CSAM Act to remove legal immunity for civil claims over CSAM content.
- All five CEOs — including Discord's Jason Citron — indicated they were open a to federal regulatory agency focusing on social media and tech.