At a Paris conference on Thursday, internet behemoths like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat joined numerous world leaders in issuing a global push to better protect children online. The call, which was launched by France and UNICEF, acknowledges that "children can come across harmful and violent content and information manipulation in the digital environment." Children, like adults, have the right to privacy, which must be respected."
Cyberbullying, sexual abuse, prostitution, human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, and violent online radicalization were among the "threats magnified by technology" highlighted in the text. "We urge all governments, online service providers, and related groups to advocate for children's digital rights," it stated. Amazon, Google, and YouTube, Facebook and Instagram's parent firm Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat, and Twitter are among the signatories. Eight countries have joined the appeal, including France, Italy, Argentina, Jordan, and Morocco, but not the United States.
The Paris Peace Forum, which began on Thursday, drew some 30 leaders of state and government, including US Vice President Kamala Harris. The summit, which will take place both in person and online, will bring together world leaders, CEOs, NGOs, and others to debate global challenges like climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the digital revolution. In the presence of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Macron presided over a discussion on children's rights. Another discussion on governing the digital realm included Macron, Harris, EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as Microsoft President Brad Smith.
Harris indicated that the United States will join the Paris Call, which was initiated in 2018 to strengthen cyberspace security and regulation. For years, campaigners for children's rights have encouraged internet behemoths to take steps to better protect youngsters. Whistleblower Frances Haugen's revelations last month on internal Facebook research on the effects of Instagram on teens heightened parents' fears about the popular photo-sharing app. Justine Atlan, the leader of "E-Enfance," an organisation that advocates for children's online safety, attended the Paris Peace Forum.
Nora Fraisse, the leader of a French organization dedicated to combating school bullying, hailed the announcement as "a watershed moment" that puts "international pressure" on internet behemoths. Marion La Main Tendue ("Marion The Outstretched Hand") was formed by Fraisse after her daughter, Marion, committed suicide at the age of 13 due to bullying at school. She stated of major social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, "Those who are propagating hatred via their pipes carry some responsibility." Bullying in school and cyberbullying are frequently linked.