Twitter has been particularly egregious in its censorship in the last few weeks, but sometimes, the platform chooses to ignore particularly egregious content. Now, a recent lawsuit has alleged that the platform may have allowed child pornography to circulate.
The lawsuit alleged that Twitter “knowingly benefited from participation in what it knew or should have known was a sex trafficking venture,” of a minor, who is referred to in court documents under the pseudonym John Doe. It further alleged that Twitter “monetizes content on its platform through advertisements and data collection.”
The lawsuit alleged that, in 2017, the then- 13- or 14-year-old Doe shared explicit photos with an individual the complaint said “he believed … went to his school.” However, the complaint alleged that the individuals in question were actually traffickers. The complaint further claimed that the traffickers subjected Doe to “manipulation” and “blackmail,” and demanded “more sexually graphic photos and videos.”
Doe eventually blocked the traffickers, according to the lawsuit, and “eventually the communications ceased.” However, in 2019, “a compilation video of multiple CSAM videos sent by John Doe to the traffickers surfaced on Twitter,” the lawsuit claimed.
In January of 2020, the complaint continued that Doe discovered from a classmate that the videos were circulating on Twitter. Both Doe and his mother reached out to Twitter regarding the videos, and also “reported the situation to a local law enforcement agency and provided Twitter with the report number for that agency,” according to the complaint.
Twitter allegedly responded to complaints from his mother by stating, “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 lawsuit claimed that Twitter has policies in place to defend against child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and would “report any such material to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Twitter’s Help Center stated: “We have a zero-tolerance child sexual exploitation policy on Twitter.” The platform updated this policy in 2019.
The videos allegedly accrued “over 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets,” according to the complaint. Eventually, his mother “was able to connect with an agent of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The federal agent also initiated contact with Twitter and at the request of the U.S. federal government, the CSAM was finally removed from Twitter on or about January 30, 2020.”
If the allegations made in the complaint are true, it should never have taken nearly a month, and a request from a federal government, to remove alleged child pornography from Twitter.
The platform clearly has little issue leaving blatant Chinese propaganda and tweets from Iran’s Ayatollah calling for “firm, armed resistance” against the Jewish people. Yet Twitter wasted no time in censoring former President Donald Trump on numerous occasions, including his comments about mail-in voting and COVID-19. In fact, the platform censored Trump 625 times, but did not even censor then-former Vice President Joe Biden once. Twitter, among other platforms, even permanently banned the former president from its platform.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Twitter at (415) 222-9670 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency and protections for the most vulnerable among us. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.