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Twitter Faces Lawsuit for Allegedly Refusing to Remove Child Porn Weeks After Purging Right-Wing Accounts

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Only weeks after banning then-President Donald Trump along with tens of thousands of right-wing accounts, Twitter now faces a lawsuit for allegedly refusing to remove child porn from its platform.

A 17-year-old sex trafficking victim identified only as John Doe reportedly asked the social media company to remove pictures and videos of him engaging in sex acts. Doe was 13 years old at the time.

On Jan. 28, 2020, Twitter replied to Doe, saying it “didn’t find a violation” of the company’s policies, the lawsuit claims, according to the New York Post.

According to the suit filed Wednesday, the photos and videos were first taken when John Doe was approached by sex traffickers on the messaging app Snapchat.

Initially, the traffickers posed as a 16-year-old female classmate of Doe’s.

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After persuading Doe into sending nude photographs, the traffickers used them as blackmail, threatening to share them with his parents, coach and pastor unless Doe sent more graphic photos and videos of himself and other children performing sex acts, the suit claims, according to the Post.

After blocking the traffickers, Doe found that the photos and videos had resurfaced on Twitter.

He and his mother allegedly reported the photos and videos multiple times to no avail, with Twitter eventually sending back a statement saying, “Thanks for reaching out. We’ve reviewed the content, and didn’t find a violation of our policies, so no action will be taken at this time.”

It wasn’t until an agent from the Department of Homeland Security intervened that the posts were taken down on Jan. 30, the suit claims.

Has Twitter been consistent with its policies?

Filed by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, along with two law firms, the suit says that “only after this take-down demand from a federal agent did Twitter suspend the user accounts that were distributing the CSAM and report the CSAM to the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children.”

“This is directly in contrast to what their automated reply message and User Agreement state they will do to protect children.”

Although these reports indicate Twitter may have been slow to ban accounts sharing child sex abuse material, the social media platform was quick to ban tens of thousands of right-wing accounts that reportedly shared the QAnon conspiracy theory following the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion.

“These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service,” the company said.

Additionally, the company banned Trump for alleged “incitement of violence,” although whether the former president’s tweets constituted “incitement of violence” has been heavily disputed.

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The Western Journal reached out to Twitter regarding the lawsuit and received the following statement in response:

“Twitter has zero-tolerance for any material that features or promotes child sexual exploitation. We aggressively fight online child sexual abuse and have heavily invested in technology and tools to enforce our policy.

“Our dedicated teams work to stay ahead of bad-faith actors and to ensure we’re doing everything we can to remove content, facilitate investigations, and protect minors from harm — both on and offline.”

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Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including numerous original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of supervising staff reporter. His responsibilities now include directing the reporting team.
Birthplace
Ames, Iowa
Nationality
American
Education
Iowa State University
Topics of Expertise
Culture, Faith, Politics, Education, Entertainment




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