There are so many angles to the release of the “Twitter Files,” which exposed how the company’s prior leadership handled its content moderation practices, especially when it came to the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. Indeed, many have opined on the matter on the airwaves and interwebs.
But one of the issues that came up after journalist Matt Taibbi released the first part of the Twitter Files was related to the reality that political actors on both sides of the aisle routinely contacted the company about content they sought to have removed. In fact, the Democratic National Committee went so far as to get actor James Woods suspended from the platform. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Woods is right-of-center, right?
It was also revealed that Democrats had salacious images of Hunter Biden removed from the site, a point the left has used to make it appear as if this whole thing is a nothingburger. When I realized that Twitter, in the pre-Musk era, was willing to remove nude pictures of Hunter at his behest, I could not help but recall that the company refused to do the same when it came to child pornography being spread on the site.
What I was referring to involves two individuals who sued Twitter after it refused to take down videos displaying their sexual abuse as children. It became a huge issue last year when reports surfaced detailing how the two plaintiffs repeatedly begged the company to take down the videos, only to be rebuffed. Twitter employees claimed that the material did not violate its terms and conditions.
Think about that.
What makes this even more galling is the revelation that the company used the same content moderation tools against the spread of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story that they would normally use against child sexual abuse on the platform. The company’s priorities were clearly not in order in this case.
Videos showing children engaging in sexual acts supposedly did not break the company’s rules. Yet, a Democrat easily had his sexually explicit photos taken down just by making a simple request. This is how depraved members of the company’s leadership were before Musk took over.
Fortunately, with a new sheriff in town, it appears Twitter will be cleaning up its act. The new CEO has been taking steps toward battling child porn on the platform, which has prompted at least one activist media outlet to publish a report downplaying his efforts.
Nevertheless, Musk is still moving forward with his plan to remove child abuse from Twitter’s platform. Andrea Stroppa, an independent researcher working with the company’s Trust and Safety team, posted a thread detailing some of their accomplishments so far.
Twitter has “updated its mechanism to detect content related to child sexual abuse/exploitation material,” doubled the suspension rate of accounts sharing the content, and even expanded its effort to Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking users that are posting child sexual abuse content.
During a Twitter Spaces session on Saturday, Musk told listeners that the company has “done more to stop Child Exploitation in the last month than probably the last 10 years.”
This is both encouraging and infuriating at the same time. On the one hand, it is nice to see that Musk takes this issue seriously. It is good that he and his team are putting measures into place to stop the spread of child porn and are working to protect kids.
But what is truly despicable is the fact that the company’s prior leadership refused to make a genuine effort to address the issue. How many children have been victimized over and over by having their abuse shared on the platform just because Twitter did not believe it to be important enough to take action? Even other social media platforms were making ongoing efforts to solve this problem. Hopefully, Musk will steer the ship in the right direction.