Twitter owner Elon Musk said the problem of child sexual exploitation (CSE) on Twitter is “Priority #1” as the platform quietly began cracking down on its distribution.
On Saturday, human trafficking survivor and advocate Eliza Bleu noted that the three biggest hashtags for selling CSE on Twitter had been “virtually eliminated.”
Bleu pointed to two key changes Twitter made under Musk’s leadership. The first was to its reporting system, which now includes an option to report CSE content.
The second change is that the platform is noticeably working on the removal of hashtags that criminals use to solicit and distribute the abusive material. However, Bleu noted that hashtags outside the “main three” are still active.
“It’s not over yet,” the activist warned.
Twitter had been criticized for being slow to act on taking down child porn. In Jan. 2021, moderators on the website refused to remove widely shared pornographic images and videos of a teenage sex trafficking victim because it determined it did not violate the company’s polices.
John Doe #1 and John Doe #2, who appeared in the content that reemerged on Twitter, sued the company in August for declining to take down the disturbing video.
Over 30 brands left the platform in September after their ads appeared alongside tweets soliciting CSE, reported Reuters.
Musk personally acknowledged the CSE issue as Twitter’s top priority late Sunday evening.
Eva Fox, writer for Tesmanian, tweeted, “Elon Musk has begun addressing the issue of posting child sexual exploitation content on Twitter after years of the platform’s inactivity on the subject under past management,” with a link to a story about the issue.
“Priority #1,” Musk replied under Fox’s tweet.
Bleu and other child abuse advocates praised Musk for publicly acknowledging an issue they had long tried to raise awareness of.
“That is all I ever wanted,” she said of Musk supporting the fight against child pornography on Twitter.
But she noted that there was still work to be done: “Now, back to work. All gas, no breaks.”