twitter are sold-out scum – who knew?

Twitter rejected pleas to remove child porn from platform because it didn’t ‘violate policies,’ lawsuit claims, Jan 21 2021

A new lawsuit has accused Twitter of turning a blind eye to child pornography on its platform, claiming that it snubbed repeat requests from an underage sex trafficking victim to remove explicit images obtained through blackmail. The suit, filed by the teenage victim and his mother in the Northern District of California on Wednesday, argues that Twitter refused to pull the sexually graphic videos on the grounds that they did not violate its policies, allowing them to rack up well over 150k views. The plaintiff in the case, identified only as “John Doe” in court records, says he was just 13 when he was manipulated into sharing nude images of himself with a Snapchat user he believed to be a 16-year-old classmate. After he did so, “the correspondence changed to blackmail,” the lawsuit claims, adding that the perpetrators threatened to share the photos with the victim’s “parents, coach, pastor, and others in his community” if he did not send additional material. He complied with the traffickers’ demands, sending sexually explicit videos of himself, some of which included another minor. At some point in 2019, a “compilation video” featuring the footage extorted from John Doe surfaced on Twitter through at least two accounts, eventually making their way to the victim in Jan 2020 after “he learned from his classmates that videos of him and another minor were on Twitter and that many students in the school had viewed them.” Due to the circulation of these videos, he faced teasing, harassment, vicious bullying, and became suicidal. Immediately the victim, who by this time was 16 years old, informed his parents of the situation, prompting his mother, named as “Jane Doe” in the suit, to take up the issue with school officials, local police and with Twitter directly. That followed at least one previous complaint from a concerned Twitter user in late 2019, who reported one of the accounts that shared footage of the victim. The company took no action and the videos remained live. By Jan 21, the plaintiff filed his own complaint with Twitter, telling the platform:

These videos were taken from harassment and being threatened. It is now spreading around school and we need them taken down as we are both minors and we have a police report for the situation.

At the request of Twitter, he provided a photo of his driver’s license to confirm his identity. Jane Doe also filed two additional complaints with the company one day later, to which Twitter replied with identical automated messages promising to review the content in question. After a full week without a response from the company, despite repeat attempts by the victim’s mother beyond her initial complaints, Twitter finally replied on Jan 28, stating that it found no problems with the sexually explicit videos and would do nothing to have them removed. Twitter said, without a hint of irony:

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 … Your safety is the most important thing.

The victim replied on the same day, outraged over the platform’s inaction, asking:

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.

While the company ignored John Doe’s final plea, within a few days his family “was able to connect with an agent of the US Department of Homeland Security” through a mutual contact, according to the suit. “The federal agent also initiated contact with Twitter and at the request of the US federal government, the [explicit content] was finally removed from Twitter on or about Jan 30 2020,” the lawsuit continues, adding that the offending accounts were also banned. Twitter has come under fire in the past for its handling of child pornography, with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection finding in a review last year that the platform makes it “extremely difficult” to report such content, forcing users to locate a form separate from its “easily-accessible report function” found on every tweet. As of Mar 2019, Twitter claims to enforce a “zero-tolerance child sexual exploitation policy,” and in its communications with John Doe and his mother said it forwards all reports of such material to the National Center Missing and Exploited Children. However, despite aggressive efforts by the victim to have images of himself removed from the platform, the company only did so after being contacted by the US federal government, failing to relay John Doe’s case to the Center until that point. The company’s apparently lax stance on child pornography comes in stark contrast to its forceful policing of political content it deems “hateful” or to spread “misinformation,” regularly purging thousands of posts and users, among them even former president Donald Trump, over technical policy violations.

Twitter locks account of China’s US embassy over its defense of Xinjiang policy
Brenda Goh, Reuters, Jan 21 2021

SHANGHAI – Twitter has locked the account of China’s US embassy for a tweet that defended China’s policy towards Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, which the US social media platform said violated its stand against “dehumanizing” people. China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it was confused by the move and that it was the embassy’s responsibility to call out disinformation and clarify the truth. The Chinese Embassy account, @ChineseEmbinUS, posted a tweet this month that said that Uighur women had been emancipated and were no longer “baby-making machines,” citing a study reported by state-backed newspaper China Daily. The tweet was removed by Twitter and replaced by a label stating that it was no longer available. Although Twitter hides tweets that violate its policies, it requires account owners to manually delete such posts. The Chinese embassy’s account has not posted any new tweets since Jan 9. Twitter’s suspension of the embassy’s account came a day after the Trump administration, in its final hours, accused China of committing genocide in Xinjiang, a finding endorsed by the incoming Biden administration. The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Twitter’s move. Twitter is blocked in China but has been embraced by Chinese state media and diplomats, many of whom have taken to the platform to aggressively defend China’s positions in what has come to be known as “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy. A Twitter spokesperson said on Thursday:

We’ve taken action on the Tweet you referenced for violating our policy against dehumanization, where it states: We prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity.

The Chinese embassy in Washington, which joined Twitter in Jun 2019, did not immediately respond to a e-mailed request for comment. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing on Thursday that it was confused by Twitter’s move. she said:

There are numerous reports and information relating to Xinjiang that are against China. It’s a responsibility for our embassy in the US to clarify the truth. We hope they won’t apply double standards on this issue. We hope they can discern what is correct and truthful from disinformation on this matter.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of abuse in Xinjiang, where a UN panel has said at least a million Uighurs and other Muslims had been detained in camps. Last year, a report by German researcher Adrian Zenz published by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank accused China of using forced sterilization, forced abortion and coercive family planning against minority Muslims. China said the allegations were groundless and false. This is not the first time Twitter has taken action against China-linked accounts. In June last year, it removed more than 170k accounts it said were tied to a Beijing-backed influence operation that deceptively spread messages favourable to the Chinese government. China struck an optimistic tone towards the Biden administration on Thursday, saying:

Kind angels can triumph over evil forces.

One Comment

  1. Posted January 26, 2021 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    …go to TG, assholes… 😛

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