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Culture

Twitter Sued For Not Removing Child Porn, Said It Didn't Violate Policies

By Paula Gallagher·· 2 min read
Twitter Sued For Not Removing Child Porn

Twitter refused to remove pornographic images and videos of a 13-year-old sex trafficking victim, claiming they didn’t violate company policies.

Yesterday, the victim, under the name John Doe, and his mother filed a federal suit against Twitter, alleging Twitter made money off the child sexual abuse material.

The pornographic material was gathered when the victim was approached on Snapchat by sex traffickers under the guise of a 16-year-old female classmate. After exchange nude photos, the sex traffickers blackmailed the victim for more sexually graphic photos and videos — including videos with another minor. If he didn’t comply, the material he had already shared would be sent to his “parents, coach, pastor.” 

Eventually, Doe blocked the traffickers, but the child sexual abuse videos appeared on Twitter in 2019 on two different accounts. Twitter ignored three reports of the tweets before Doe found out about them in January 2020. 

After suffering “teasing, harassment, vicious bullying” from classmates who had viewed the videos, Doe, now 17, filed a complaint with Twitter. He told Twitter that the videos of child porn were of himself, that they were illegal, and that they violated Twitter’s policies — three reasons they should be removed. Doe’s mother also filed complaints with Twitter. Neither received a response addressing their complaints for a week.

Finally, Twitter responded to Doe that they would not remove the tweets, writing, “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.”

At the time of their response, the material had over 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets.

Doe replied to Twitter’s email, writing, “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.”

Doe was again ghosted until his mother got in contact with a Department of Homeland Security agent, who was able to get the videos removed.

The lawsuit states, “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.” 

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