Well, There Are “Policies,” And There Are “Policies.”

Social media platforms have been in the news lately for “de-platforming” those who have political opinions other than what is acceptable to those platforms.

Twitter is one of those platforms who (in)famously de-platformed President Donald Trump for expressing opinions that Twitter did not like.

Yet Twitter was allowing child porn on their site:

Twitter refused to take down widely shared pornographic images and videos of a teenage sex trafficking victim because an investigation “didn’t find a violation” of the company’s “policies,” a scathing lawsuit alleges.

The federal suit, filed Wednesday by the victim and his mother in the Northern District of California, alleges Twitter made money off the clips, which showed a 13-year-old engaged in sex acts and are a form of child sexual abuse material, or child porn, the suit states.

The teen — who is now 17 and lives in Florida — is identified only as John Doe and was between 13 and 14 years old when sex traffickers, posing as a 16-year-old female classmate, started chatting with him on Snapchat, the suit alleges.

Doe and the traffickers allegedly exchanged nude photos before the conversation turned to blackmail: If the teen didn’t share more sexually graphic photos and videos, the explicit material he’d already sent would be shared with his “parents, coach, pastor” and others, the suit states.

Doe, acting under duress, initially complied and sent videos of himself performing sex acts and was also told to include another child in his videos, which he did, the suit claims.

In December of 2019, the pictures began appearing on Twitter in at least three separate accounts gathering 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets.

Doe was being bullied and harassed at school and contacted Twitter to remove the images. Initially Twitter demanded that he send ID to prove who he said he was. (Because apparently just having child porn on a Twitter cannot be removed unless you can prove that you are the one in the images.)

Once Twitter got his ID, they denied the request to take down the images.

Doe appealed and his mother also wrote Twitter asking the images be taken down.

They received this astonishing response:

“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,” the response reads, according to the lawsuit.

“If you believe there’s a potential copyright infringement, please start a new report. If the content is hosted on a third-party website, you’ll need to contact that website’s support team to report it. Your safety is the most important thing, and if you believe you are in danger, we encourage you to contact your local authorities.”

Child porn doesn’t violate Twitter’s policies?

In his response, published in the complaint, Doe appeared shocked.

“What do you mean you don’t see a problem? We both are minors right now and were minors at the time these videos were taken. We both were 13 years of age. We were baited, harassed, and threatened to take these videos that are now being posted without our permission. We did not authorize these videos AT ALL and they need to be taken down,” the teen wrote back to Twitter.

He even included his case number from a local law enforcement agency, but still the tech giant allegedly ignored him and refused to do anything about the illegal child sexual abuse material — as it continued to rack up more and more views.

A friend of the Doe family had a contact within the Department of Homeland Security who reached out to Twitter. The images were taken down in late January.

This is simply mind boggling.

Twitter was worried about what people were saying about politics, but didn’t find anything wrong with child porn.

There is, of course, a lawsuit which will bring in several sections of the infamous Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, but even Section 230 doesn’t protect Twitter from what is criminal behavior.

Money can’t heal all wounds, but one hopes that Twitter pays through the nose for this one.

One Response to “Well, There Are “Policies,” And There Are “Policies.””

  1. brian says:

    Twitter has all the names and accounts of the people that viewed the photos. They can use that information for blackmail purposes at a later date. The company is evil.