Twitter is “taking child exploitation seriously,” said the platform’s harshest critic on child sexual exploitation (CSE). Teslarati in an exclusive interview.
Eliza Bleu is a survivor of human trafficking and an advocate for victims, especially children. Bleu has been lobbying Twitter for several years to remove CSE material on a large scale, and until the acquisition of Elon Musk, Twitter was slow to remove most content. She said Teslarati that he is happy to see the new changes that the platform is implementing under the new leadership of Elon Musk.
He noted that under the new leadership, Twitter is “taking child exploitation 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, were minors who were sexually exploited, and videos of that exploitation were posted on Twitter. When the two, who are now adults, pleaded with Twitter to remove the content, Twitter refused.
The content that the plaintiffs wanted Twitter to remove had more than 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets.
Bleu pointed out some key changes that Twitter has made under his new leadership. The first changes were in her reporting system. In a thread of tweets, Bleu made suggestions for Twitter, and the platform has implemented two of those suggestions so far. The first is a clear and easy report. Twitter implemented a two-click report for children who report their own abuse material.
Bleu noted that there should also be a separate tab for adults experiencing sexual exploitation. “It needs to be very clear to both adults and children experiencing sexual exploitation, and reporting options need to be separate.”
Simple steps Twitter could take to remove child sexual exploitation material:
1. Clear and easy reports. (Two click reports for kids reporting their own abuse material. Easy enough for a kid.)
2. Prioritize removing reports of child exploitation in the first place.
—Eliza (@elizableu) November 1, 2022
The other key issue that the platform has been working on notably is the removal of hashtags that are known to be used to sell CSEs. These are well-known hashtags that are used to market CSEs 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 labels are used.
These hashtags are mentioned in the lawsuit, and Teslarati investigated them to see if the platform was actually removing the content. We found out that Twitter is removing most of the content; however, there are still accounts that post requests for content.
Wow! The most popular hashtag used to sell child sexual abuse material on Twitter is almost completely removed.
—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 CSE requests and used various other tags. Unfortunately, some of those labels are still very active. Bleu noted that predators will continue to post with a variety of labels, but labels could help authorities catch criminals, which is one reason why Teslarati is not posting the tags.
In his tweet thread, Bleu noted that some of the labels outside of the top three are active in sharing and posting illegal content. blue said Teslarati that Twitter’s new sense of urgency fills her with hope.
“After years of advocating for the underage survivors of Twitter, I have never been more hopeful than 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 and death for each victim, so every second matters.”
Bleu’s suggestion to Twitter is to continue to prioritize removal of CSE content, review reports, review all reporting backlogs, and work closely with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. She added that Twitter should innovate around this issue using all available technology.
“There is a lot of free technology available that platforms use and have been very successful,” Bleu added. Her final request to Twitter and Elon Musk is to “address this problem on a large scale without violating the digital privacy rights of innocent citizens.”
Your comments are welcome. If you have any comments or concerns or see a typo, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach me on Twitter at @johnnacrider1.
Teslarati is now on TikTok. Follow us for interactive news and more. Teslarati is now on TikTok. Follow us for interactive news and more. You can also follow Teslarati on LinkedIn, Twitter, instagramY Facebook.