Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Twitter Foray Into Adult Content Was Nixed Over Child Porn Concerns: Report

Twitter Foray Into Adult Content Was Nixed Over Child Porn Concerns: Report

Twitter briefly considered a major move into the pornography business last spring that would have seen adult content creators selling OnlyFans-style subscriptions on the platform, according to a report, but the company ultimately decided it couldn’t guarantee child porn wouldn’t sneak past its algorithm.

The doomed proposal, reported last week by The Verge, would likely have been high-risk, high-reward for the San Francisco-based social media giant. While it could have generated huge profits, internal documents reviewed by the outlet showed it could also have been a PR — and perhaps legal — nightmare. Twitter’s vaunted “Red Team” warned senior executives the company would not be able to effectively police content exploiting kids and other victims in a subscription-based model, according to the report.

“Twitter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity at scale,” the team concluded in April.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Twitter spokesperson Celeste Carswell appeared to confirm at least some of The Verge’s reporting.

The internal documents obtained by The Verge are part of an “ongoing and reflective dialogue on the topic that brought us to the decision to pause the workstream for the right reason and prioritize elsewhere,” Carswell said

“Twitter has zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation,” Carswell’s statement continued. “We aggressively fight online child sexual abuse and have invested in technology and tools to enforce our policy.”

Twitter is currently being sued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for allegedly allowing children’s sexual exploitation on the site, even after being made aware of the content and the boys’ ages.

“Reminder: a 13 year old minor survivor begged Twitter to remove a video sexually exploiting him,” sex trafficking survivor and victims’ advocate Eliza Bleu said of the suit. “Twitter reviewed the content and said NO. They had his government ID showing that he was a minor at the time. The video had over 160k views. Over 2k retweets.”

The department of homeland security had to step in to get Twitter to remove the video.

Twitter refused to take responsibility.

The lawsuit is headed to @US9thCircuit https://t.co/fJzQwqVb0d

— Eliza (@elizableu) September 4, 2022

In an interview with The Daily Wire, Bleu accused Twitter of reducing child exploitation to cold cash calculations.

“Often times the minors sexually exploited on Twitter globally are amongst the world’s most vulnerable and impoverished,” Bleu said. “The platform has long done a cost-benefit analysis while tackling this issue. They continue to knowingly profit off of child sexual abuse and exploitation material while neglecting to see the victims as real child human beings. Twitter knows that most of the survivors of this crime globally do not have the resources to pursue justice.”

Bleu said the two alleged victims suing Twitter, dubbed John Doe #1 and John Doe #2, “are not simply advocating for themselves, they are advocating for every minor survivor exploited and ignored on Twitter globally.”

“Twitter put profits over survivors,” she said. “Twitter embraced the censorship of words and ideas while children begged them to censor the most violent and horrific moments of their lives.”

Bleu praised Twitter employees who she said have come forward with damning information about company practices in order “to put minor victims/survivors of child sexual exploitation over profit.”

Related: ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’: Sex Trafficking Survivor Challenges Jack Dorsey On Heels Of Bombshell Lawsuit

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