Twitter to spearhead fight on sexual exploitation of children

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Elon Musk Buys Twitter
Elon Musk Buys Twitter

Elon Musk has said that the problem of child sexual exploitation content on Twitter being easily available is a top concern. 

Twitter user EvaFoxU, followed by Musk, tweeted “Elon Musk has begun addressing the issue of posting child sexual exploitation content on Twitter after years of the platform’s inactivity on the subject under past management,” with a link to an article by Tesmanian interviewing Eliza Bleu, a survivor of human trafficking and an advocate for victims.

Musk responded to the tweet saying that the issue is “Priority #1.”

Bleu told Tesmanian that “the new management of the company takes the CSE problem seriously,” emphasizing that the three main hashtags used to sell child sexual abuse content on Twitter have been cleared since Musk’s takeover.

Insider found that Twitter had removed most of the content using these hashtags, but there were still some tweets requesting CSE content.

Bleu also said that Twitter had added a direct reporting option for child sexual exploitation on tweets with images or videos. Insider was able to verify this, and found that when reporting a tweet, users can now select the option of “child sexual exploitation” as the reason for the report.

Twitter, Tesmanian and Eliza Bleu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

French president Emmanuel Macron on November 10 asked Musk on Twitter: “Will the bird protect our children?” Musk responded in French, saying “Absolument,” which translates to “absolutely.”

Twitter has been embroiled in controversy for years for not removing child sexual abuse material adequately, and was the subject of a major child safety lawsuit in 2021.

A minor sued Twitter saying that the company refused to remove a sexually explicit video of him at age 13, originally posted in 2019. The minor reported the video but it took nine days for the company to remove it from its platform, and this was only after an agent from the US Department of Homeland Security intervened.

Two attorneys representing the minor spoke with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in 2021 saying that there were key hashtags used on Twitter to trade child pornography. They added that potentially only “a percentage” of child sexual abuse material reported was actually being taken down by Twitter.

Twitter’s child sexual exploitation policy currently says that it has “zero tolerance towards any material that features or promotes child sexual exploitation, one of the most serious violations of the Twitter Rules.”

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