Under Elon Musk, Twitter is “taking child exploitation seriously”

Twitter “takes child exploitation seriously”, the platform’s harshest critic of sexual exploitation (CSE) has said. Teslarati in an exclusive interview.

Eliza Bleu is a victim of human trafficking and an advocate for victims, especially children. Bleu has been pressuring Twitter to remove CSE material on a large scale for several years, and until Elon Musk’s acquisition, Twitter was slow to remove most content. She said Teslarati that she is happy to see the new changes that the platform is introducing under the new leadership of Elon Musk.

She pointed out that under new management, Twitter is “taking child exploitation seriously”. However, much work still needs 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 the exploitation were posted on Twitter. When the two, now adults, begged Twitter to remove the content, Twitter refused.

The content the plaintiffs wanted Twitter to remove had more than 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets.

Credit: Eliza Bleu; screenshots of Twitter’s updated reporting system.

Bleu pointed out several key changes Twitter has made under the new leadership. The first changes concerned the reporting system. In a tweet thread, Bleu made suggestions for Twitter, and so far the platform has implemented two of those suggestions. The first is clear and simple reporting. Twitter has implemented two-click reporting for children who report their own abusive material.

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Bleu noted that there needs to be a separate card for adults who experience sexual exploitation. “It needs to be crystal clear for both adults and children experiencing sexual exploitation and reporting options need to be separate.”

Another key issue that the platform is working heavily on is the removal of hashtags known to be used to sell VVN. These are the known hash tags that are used to trade VVN 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 marks are used.

These hashtags are listed in the lawsuit and Teslarati they investigated them to see if the platform was actually removing the content. We found that Twitter removes most of the content; however, there are still accounts submitting content requests.

The screenshot below shows that Twitter has removed content from the “Latest” tabs for one of these top hashtags. The “Photos” and “Videos” tabs were also empty. However, the “Top Tweets” section still contained requests for VVN and used several other tags. Unfortunately, some of these brands are still very active. Bleu noted that predators will continue to post using different tags, but the tags could help authorities catch criminals — which is one reason why Teslarati does not publish brands.

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In her tweet thread, Bleu noted that some brands outside of the top three are actively involved in sharing and posting illegal content. Bleu said Teslarati that Twitter’s new sense of urgency gives her hope.

“After years of advocating for minor Twitter survivors, I’ve never had more hope than I do now. I don’t expect perfection from the platform. All I ever wanted was to see a sense of urgency around such a serious matter. In many of these cases, it’s a matter of life or death for each victim, so every second counts.”

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Bleu suggests for Twitter to continue prioritizing the removal of VVN content, review messages, review all backlogs, and work with the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children. She added that Twitter should innovate around the issue using all available technologies.

“There’s a lot of free technology available that platforms are using and they’ve had great success,” Bleu added. Her final request for Twitter and Elon Musk is to “address this issue at scale without infringing on the digital privacy rights of innocent citizens.”

Your feedback is welcome. If you have any comments or concerns or see a typo, you can email me at [email protected]. You can also reach me on Twitter at @JohnnaCrider1.

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Under Elon Musk, Twitter takes ‘child exploitation seriously’


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