Twitter “takes child exploitation seriously,” its platform toughest critic on child sexual exploitation (CSE) told Teslarati in an exclusive interview.
Eliza Bleu is a survivor of human trafficking and an advocate for victims, especially children. Bleu has put pressure on Twitter for years to remove CSE material at scale, and until Elon Musk’s acquisition, Twitter has been slow to release most of the content. She told Teslarati that he is happy to see the new changes implemented by the platform under the new leadership of Elon Musk.
He pointed out that under new leadership, Twitter “takes child exploitation very seriously.” However, there is still much work to be done. There is an ongoing lawsuit against the social media platform that started before Elon Musk bought it. The plaintiffs, John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 it was a minor who was sexually exploited, and a video of the exploitation was posted on Twitter. When the two, who are now adults, asked Twitter to remove their content, Twitter refused.
The content the plaintiff wants Twitter to remove has had more than 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets.
Bleu pointed out some key changes Twitter has made under its new leadership. The first change is the reporting system. In a tweet thread, Bleu made suggestions for Twitter, and so far, the platform has implemented two of their suggestions. The first is clear and easy reporting. Twitter implements two-click reporting for children to self-report abusive material.
Bleu said there should be a separate tab for adults who have experienced sexual exploitation as well. “It should be clear for adults and children who have experienced sexual exploitation, and the reporting options should be separate.”
Simple Steps Twitter Can Take to Remove Child Sexual Exploitation Material:
1. Clear reports are easy. (Two clicks to report for children to report their own abusive material. Easy enough for children.)
2. Prioritize the removal of child exploitation reports first.
—Eliza (@elizableu) November 1, 2022
Another key issue that the platform has been working on is removing hashtags that are known to be used to sell CSE. This is a known hashtag that is used to trade 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 Teslarati they investigated to see if this platform actually removed the content. We found that Twitter has removed most of the content; however, there are still account posting requests for content.
Wow! The most popular hashtag used to sell child sexual abuse material on Twitter has been virtually purged.
—Eliza (@elizableu) November 20, 2022
The screenshot below shows that Twitter removed content from the “Latest” tab for one of the top hashtags. The “Photos” and “Videos” tabs are also empty. However, the “Top Tweets” section still has requests for CSE and uses several other tags. Unfortunately, some of those tags are still very active. Bleu said predators will continue to post using various tags, but those tags can help authorities catch criminals — which is the reason why. Teslarati do not publish tags.
in his tweet thread, Bleu noted that some tags outside the top three are actively involved in sharing and posting illegal content. Bleu said Teslarati that Twitter’s new sense of urgency makes her hopeful.
“After many years of advocating for the minor survival of Twitter, I have never been as hopeful as I am now. I do not expect perfection from the platform. All I want is to see a sense of urgency in a serious problem. In many of these cases, this is a matter of life or death for every victim, so every second counts.
Bleu’s advice for Twitter is to continue to prioritize the removal of CSE content, go through the reports, go through all the backlogs of all reports, and work together with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He added that Twitter should innovate on this issue using all available technologies.
“There’s a lot of free technology that the platform uses and it’s been successful,” Bleu added. His final request for Twitter and Elon Musk is “to address this problem at scale without violating the digital privacy rights of innocent citizens.”
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