U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today sent a letter to Pinterest CEO Bill Ready requesting answers on the company’s practices for identifying and removing sexually suggestive content that is harmful to young users.
The letter follows a recent NBC News report that highlighted how pedophiles are using Pinterest to entice and target underage girls as young as nine years old. The NBC News investigation found that not only is Pinterest allowing this to happen, but its recommendation engine is making it easy to do so.
Pinterest Has Failed To Live Up To Being The ‘Last Positive Corner Of The Internet’
“Pinterest often holds out its content reporting mechanisms and age assurance practices to prevent underage users from using the platform, including in meetings with Congressional staff. The company has also emphasized its commitment to youth mental health and privacy and making that a top priority for the company, a laudable goal given the impacts of other social media platforms on mental health. Unfortunately, according to the issues found in the report, Pinterest has fallen short of these aspirations,” the Senators wrote.
Pinterest Should Meet Their Commitment By Supporting The Kids Online Safety Act
“As the authors of the bipartisan Kids Online Safety Act, we believe that the social media platforms have profound moral and social obligations to protect children and teens from mental health risks, sexual exploitation, and other harms. While Pinterest has taken steps to address several of the issues identified in NBC News’ report, it should not have taken national media coverage of such graphic misuse targeting young children to prompt action. We encourage Pinterest to live up to its ideal as the positive corner of the internet, and to support legislation such as the Kids Online Safety Act,” the Senators continued.
Read the full letter to Pinterest here.