Twitter refused to take down pornographic pictures and videos - of a child sex trafficking victim. Reason- they found that it 'didn't' violate Twitter's policies. If it can suspend Donald Trump's account, can it not take down such content? Well, let's find out.
In a newly emerged alarming situation, Twitter is being sued for not taking down the videos of child pornography from the micro-blogging website. The plaintiff, whose video is posted on Twitter, is a minor who was only 13-14 years old and was manipulated into sending sexually explicit pictures to human traffickers.
Case of a Minor
The victim, a boy, sent his pictures, thinking that he sent them to his 16-year-old classmate from school. The traffickers, camouflaging as teenagers, lured him by pretending to be a girl from his school.
The sex trafficker started talking to him initially on Snapchat and lured him into sending his nudes. The trap was laid out nastily by the traffickers, and on getting his pictures, they then started blackmailing and coerced the boy into sending more explicit images and videos.
They even threatened to send his pictures to his parents, coach, and other people he knew. In 2019, the videos were posted on Twitter. Despite a few accounts reporting the content that the traffickers posted in December 2019, Twitter did not take any action to mitigate the situation.
In January 2019, the boy discovered that the videos he had sent were uploaded on Twitter. He was teased, harassed, and viciously bullied because of this move. The minor asked Twitter to take down the videos as he was underage and clearly a cybercrime victim. The boy was under duress and even contemplated suicide.
In Pursuit of a Legal Suit
He decided to file a complaint about the videos on Twitter. Twitter responded that the boy needed to confirm his identity and asked for a copy of his ID. The mother of the boy filed two complaints about the explicit material. The parents filed the complaint stating that the pictures need to be removed as they were harmful, illegal, and violate the site’s policies.
Twitter got back to them after reviewing the content and didn’t find a violation of the policies. Hence, no action was taken. The lawsuit alleges that Twitter ignored the follow-up email and removed the content only when the Department of Homeland Security demanded the material to be taken down.
Delayed Action Is Denied Justice
By the time Twitter took down the content, it was viewed over 167,000 times and retweeted 2,000 times. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the Haba Law Firm, and the Matiasic Firm filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The situation was brought to light in 2021 when the victims sued Twitter. The teen is now 17-years-old and lives in Florida.
Twitter's Policy on Child Sexual Exploitation
The site states that they have a zero-tolerance towards any material that features or promotes child sexual exploitation. Regardless of the intent, viewing, sharing, or linking to child sex exploitation material contributes to the policy’s violation. A minor is considered to be under the age of 18.
According to the site, any content that depicts or promotes child sexual exploitation- whether visually, illustrated computer-generated or other forms of realistic depictions of a child in a sexually explicit context or sexually suggestive acts.
Any content that shares fantasies expresses a desire to obtain materials or expresses an interest involving a child/harbouring an interest in a child for sexual purposes violates the policy.
Violating the policy would lead to immediate and permanent suspension of the account. They would even be prohibited from making other accounts in the future. The links to third-party sites where child sexual exploitation is accessed will be removed without notice and reported to the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
#TwitterIsOverParty was trending on Twitter after the news of the lawsuit. Many users wanted to boycott the platform for not limiting the sexual content on the site. The users were outraged that the platform empowered and allowed sex traffickers to upload this form of content.
Twitter is swarmed with sexual content on the site but refuses to take it down. They should be strict regulations to moderate content that is put up without consent. Twitter should be held accountable for the content that is posted on its platform. They should either moderate content or limit the scope shared on it.