Australia’s eSafety commissioner has issued a legal infringement notice to X, formerly known as Twitter, regarding its failure to implement minimum protections against child sexual exploitation. The social media platform was additionally fined $610,500, as reported by the Australian Associated Press.
Online child sexual exploitation is modern slavery
In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the production, distribution, and administration of platforms used to distribute the content of child abuse material are offenses of modern slavery. The NSW anti-slavery commissioner Dr. James Cockayne has called for an additional criminal investigation over the possible charges.
“Governments have a duty to protect children from slavery and companies have a responsibility to respect children’s right to be free from slavery.” – Dr. James Cockayne
The regulator eSafety’s new report highlights failures of companies, such as X, to “detect, remove and prevent child sexual abuse material and grooming.” Earlier this year, the institution issued ‘please explain notices’ to X, Google, TikTok, Twitch, and Discord. The responses have been disappointing, with the companies giving generic, inaccurate, and incomplete responses. Both X and Google have stated that tackling online child sexual exploitation is their priority, but insufficient results have been delivered.
“If Twitter/X and Google can’t come up with answers to key questions about how they are tackling child sexual exploitation they either don’t want to answer for how it might be perceived publicly or they need better systems to scrutinise their own operations.” – Commissioner Julie Inman Grant
With the increasing prevalence of online child sexual exploitation, tech companies must be diligent in their policies and actions to protect their underage users. It is the moral responsibility for tech companies to do everything possible to protect children from sexual exploitation, and the only way to achieve this is through meaningful transparency.