A new report out of the Philippines paints Twitter as nothing most of us will likely think of first when prompted to think about the social media giant. Some find Twitter a useful tool to communicate, others a useless place to argue – but how about it being a den used unchecked by predators making money off of sexual exploitation of children?
According to Rappler, content showing sexual abuse of minors is now changing hands on the platform for “as low as 100 Philippine pesos (2 US dollars).”
The website said it was able to uncover accounts on Twitter that are teasing pedophile content while using a number of specific hashtag to direct their customers toward eventually purchasing this content elsewhere – available to those who wish to pay for the full videos for prices ranging from under 2 to just under 10 US dollars.
According to Rappler, in addition to clips promoting illegal content, some of these accounts going unchecked on Twitter at this time include screenshots showing thumbnails of minor boys engaged in various sex acts, as well as descriptions of these acts.
In other words, Twitter is accused here of allowing and effectively enabling some of the gravest criminal acts to proliferate on its platform, both through accounts that are not shut down, and hashtags directing customers towards illegal content of sexual exploitation of minors.
To make matters worse, the platform seems perpetually mired in trivial controversies involving shutting down accounts and suspending users for content that breaks no laws – often those merely questioning narratives and agendas, but also ones that happen to fall outside the allowance-window of its self-appointed political correctness social media police.
Yet, when it comes to reports of this type of harrowing, real-world illegal harm, a statement by Twitter to the Philippines-based website simply regurgitated some of its – seemingly poorly enforced – internal rules, such as, “zero tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation” and “steadfast committed to preventing the sexual exploitation of minors everywhere.”
However, Twitter has another steadfast commitment: convincing the market that its daily and monthly usage numbers are always growing. That means banning accounts to satisfy one overlord – and then letting the same users respawn on the platform by creating new accounts.
Said Rappler of Twitter users who committed to reporting content of child sex abuse to the platform:
“An account that was reported and taken down 4 times eventually just got back online using a newly-created account, highlighting the near futility of efforts.”