Twitter takes “child exploitation seriously,” the platform’s harshest critic of child sexual exploitation (CSE) told me. Tesla rate in an exclusive interview.
Eliza Bleu is a human trafficking survivor and an advocate for victims, especially children. For several years now, Bleu has been pressuring Twitter to remove CSE material on a large scale, and until the Elon Musk acquisition, Twitter was slow to remove most content. She said Tesla rate that she is happy with the new changes the platform is making under the new leadership of Elon Musk.
She pointed out that under the new leadership, Twitter “takes child exploitation seriously.” However, there is still much work to be done. There is a lawsuit against the social media platform that started before Elon Musk bought it. The plaintiffs, John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, were minors who were sexually exploited, and videos of that exploitation were posted on Twitter. When the two, now adults, begged Twitter to remove the content, Twitter refused.
The content that the plaintiffs wanted Twitter to remove was viewed more than 167,000 times and retweeted 2,223 times.
Bleu pointed out some significant changes Twitter has made under his new leadership. The first changes concerned the reporting system. In a tweet thread, Bleu made suggestions for Twitter, and so far the platform has implemented two of those suggestions. The first is clear and easy reporting. Twitter implemented a two-click reporting for kids who report their own abuse material.
Bleu noted that there should also be a separate tab for adults experiencing sexual exploitation. “It should be crystal clear to both adults and children experiencing sexual exploitation, and reporting options should be separate.”
Simple steps Twitter can take to remove child sexual exploitation material:
1. Clear simple reporting. (Two-click reporting for kids reporting their own abuse. Easy enough for a kid.)
2. Prioritize deleting reports of child exploitation first.
— Eliza (@elizableu) November 1, 2022
The other major issue that the platform has noticeably worked on is removing hashtags that are known to be used to sell CSE. These are well-known hashtags used for trading CSE on the platform. In the video below, attorneys Lisa Haba and Peter Gentala, the two attorneys representing John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, explain how these tags are used.
These hashtags are mentioned in the lawsuit, and Tesla rate investigated them to see if the platform actually removed the content. We found that Twitter removes most of the content; however, there are still accounts posting requests for content.
Wow! The most popular hashtag used to sell child sexual abuse material on Twitter has been almost completely cleaned up.
— Eliza (@elizableu) November 20, 2022
The screenshot below shows that Twitter removed content from the “Latest” tabs for one of those top hashtags. The “Photos” and “Videos” tabs were also empty. However, the “Top Tweets” section still had requests for CSE and used several other tags. Unfortunately, some of those tags are still very active. Bleu noted that the predators will keep posting using different tags, but the tags could help authorities catch the criminals — which is one of the reasons why Tesla rate does not publish the tags.
In her tweet thread, Bleu noted that some tags outside the top three are actively involved in sharing and posting illegal content. Blue told Tesla rate that Twitter’s new sense of urgency makes her hopeful.
“After years of advocating for Twitter’s underage survivors, I’ve never been more hopeful than I am right now. I don’t expect perfection from a platform. All I ever wanted was to see a sense of urgency around such a serious matter. In many of these cases it is a matter of life or death for each victim, so every second counts.”
Bleu’s suggestion to Twitter is to continue to prioritize removal of the CSE content, review reports, review backlogs of all reports, and work closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She added that Twitter should innovate around this issue with all available technology.
“There’s a lot of free technology out there that platforms use and have had a lot of success with,” Bleu added. Her final request to Twitter and Elon Musk is “to address this issue at scale without violating the digital privacy rights of innocent citizens.”
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