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ICYMI – Wired: This Senator Wants to Know What Meta and TikTok Are Doing About Parent-Run Girl Influencer Accounts

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, Senator Maggie Hassan is standing up to Big Tech and last week called on the CEOs of Meta (the parent company of Instagram and Facebook), TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter) to review their online and child safety guidelines to better protect children. Though the platforms require children to be at least 13 years old to have their own accounts, reporting has shown that younger children are often featured in potentially exploitative ways on accounts managed by parents.

Read more from Wired here or below:

Wired: This Senator Wants to Know What Meta and TikTok Are Doing About Parent-Run Girl Influencer Accounts

By Vittoria Elliott

[…]Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan is demanding that tech companies account for the untold thousands of accounts that place girls as risk of exploitation on their platforms, through the actions of adult account-holders.

“These corporations must answer for how they are allowing young women and girls to be exploited on their platforms and what steps they will take in response,” Senator Hassan, who represents New Hampshire, told WIRED. “Young women should be able to express themselves online in safe environments that do not facilitate the monetization of potentially exploitative content.”

The Times investigation found that parents can readily bypass the age restrictions of social platforms that bar children under 13 from having accounts. Some parents use the accounts they set up for their children to essentially monetize their daughters by putting them to work as influencers, garnering discounts and sponsorship deals or pulling in advertising revenue.

More sinisterly, some of these accounts brought in money from people seeking sexual or suggestive material about young girls, some of whom were convicted sex offenders. Some of these followers are willing to pay for extra photos beyond those shared on a girl’s social media account, or for private chats or used clothing. Times reporters examined some 5,000 accounts of young girls run by their parents.

[…]In the letters sent to TikTok, X, and Meta, Hassan is asking companies to disclose whether they were aware of parents circumventing their age requirements, whether accounts of young girls are monetized—or have ads placed on them—by the platforms, and what active measures the companies have in place to detect these kinds of accounts.