Twitter politics are deeply disturbing and intimidating, research shows. The platform ignores the problem of publishing pornography, including content that shows the sexual exploitation of children.
Twitter as a platform has many problems, but the worst thing is that executives ignore or even promote their prosperity with their policies. The cybersecurity group Ghost Data has exclusively shared their research data with Tesmanian to shed light on the company's operations, pointing out some really horrendous issues that are no longer new but continue to be ignored.
In August, The Verge published an article exposing the issue of child pornography on Twitter. Based on internal sources and documents viewed, it was discovered that Twitter was attempting to monetize adult content posted on the platform through the Adult Content Monetization project. However, a dedicated assessment team concluded that the platform did not and cannot effectively control the harmful sexual content on the platform. For this reason, the project was postponed indefinitely.
Clearly, Twitter is well aware of the problem with pornography on its platform, but in fact, they are not taking any real action to prevent or limit its prosperity. The study shows that pornography, including child pornography, continues to be posted on Twitter, while the users behind these accounts, using simple methods, bypass restrictions on their activities by continuing to publish content, in which children are sexually exploited.
Ghost Data tried to understand if and how the platform is actually being used for the non-consensual sharing of pornographic material, videos of rapes and sexual violence, and especially child pornography. In their study in September, the group used a variety of methods and algorithms. In particular, they focused on detailed network analysis, i.e. the multiple account connections (followers, following, interactions) and their wide reach within the platform. They also used OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to quickly extract text and visual recognition, thus automatically learning about people (adults and/or children) shown in photos or videos analyzed.
A Ghost Data study confirmed that Twitter has a very liberal policy on pornographic content, and such content is easy to find on the platform. However, the study also revealed something much nastier: “in the initial 20 days of September 2022, over 500 accounts shared, requested and/or publicly exchanged child pornography material.” Keep in mind that the activities that the group was able to identify during this study represent only a small percentage of what is happening publicly and daily on the global platform.
🧵We found that in the initial 20 days of Sept, over 500 accs shared, requested, and/or publicly exchanged child pornography material on Twitter $TWTR.— Septimus 🐺 Claudius Nero's Legion 🐺 (@andst7) September 28, 2022
But this is “nothing.” In this thread, I'll show you how Twitter lies about fighting against child pornography. It's shocking!
The results confirmed a problem that had already been discovered by internal staff and exposed by the media: “Twiter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation [in the content on the platform] and its executives are doing almost nothing to address this disaster.”
In addition, evidence was found that “such permissive policies on pornographic content are also inducing users to post non-consensual and rape videos, not to mention minors trying to sell their own nudity or sexual content.”
Ghost Data concluded that it is likely “a modest investment and a dedicated team, even applying our own basic techniques, would be sufficient to easily locate and drastically reduce the illicit activities described above, thus making the platform a safer place for everyone.” However, Twitter is not taking any real action to stop this, which is extremely disturbing. To date, the platform has only removed 100 accounts that Ghost Data has found to have publicly shared links, material, and links to child pornography, but 400 of the detected accounts remain active. Moreover, many of these users have been active on Twitter for several months now.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.