Tonight U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) delivered remarks on the Senate floor and called for unanimous consent on bipartisan legislation to crack down on the proliferation of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online. The STOP CSAM Act would empower victims to bring civil suits against Big Tech platforms that knowingly host CSAM content.
"These companies are the most profitable companies in the world. They are the biggest companies in the history of the world [...] Here they are making hand over fist on destroying America's children [...] This is the only industry in the country that can make a product that will literally kill you, and if it does, you cannot do anything about it," said Senator Hawley.
He continued, "This body almost thirty years ago gave these corporations a total blanket immunity that they cannot be held responsible [...] Until victims can get into court and have the rights and dignity of every other American, challenging any other company, this will not change. Congress created this problem. Congress created it by giving the most powerful companies in the world a sweetheart deal."
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Senator Hawley's call to unanimously pass the bill was objected to by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Following Senator Wyden's objection, Senator Hawley noted that the STOP CSAM Act has unanimous bipartisan support in the Judiciary committee, and he committed to forcing votes on the legislation as long as it takes to get justice for the victims.
Last week in a Senate Judiciary hearing, Senator Hawley pressed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg about child exploitation on his social media platforms. Zuckerberg stood up and apologized to the families of victims of child exploitation in the hearing room, but would not commit to compensating the families who have suffered as a consequence of his inaction.
In May 2023, Senator Hawley and Senator Durbin reached an agreement to advance the STOP CSAM Act, which then passed the Committee unanimously. After the adoption of his amendments, Senator Hawley joined the bill as the first Republican cosponsor of the legislation.