Twitter sued by survivor of child sexual exploitation

Twitter sued by survivor of child sexual exploitation

A
minor
boy
and
his
mother
are
suing

Twitter,
alleging
that
it
benefited
from
and
neglected
to
remove
an

exploitative
video —
featuring
him
and
another
minor
— which
was
retweeted thousands
of
times
and
at
least
167,000
views
on
the
platform.

Announced
on
Wednesday,
the
federal
lawsuit
claims
that
the
minor,
John
Doe,
and
his
mother
repeatedly
contacted
Twitter
about
the
content,
but
the
social
media
giant
allegedly
didn’t
suspend
accounts
distributing
it
until
a
federal
agent
from
the
Department
of
Homeland
Security
(DHS)
intervened.

According
to
the
filing,
one
or
multiple traffickers tricked
the
boy
into
providing
explicit
images
to
a
Snapchat
account
he
was
led
to
believe
belonged
to
a
16-year-old girl.
After
obtaining
the
explicit
content,
the
traffickers
allegedly
blackmailed
the
boy
into
providing
the
video
that
ultimately
spread
on
Twitter.

“Plaintiff
John
Doe
was
solicited
and
recruited
for
sex
trafficking
as
a
minor,”
reads
the
lawsuit
brought
in
part by
the
National Center
on
Sexual
Exploitation
(NCOSE).
“After
John
Doe
escaped
from
the
manipulation,
child
sexual
abuse
material
depicting
John Doe
was
disseminated
on
Twitter.
When
Twitter
was
first
alerted
to
this
fact
and
John
Doe’s
age,
Twitter
refused
to
remove
the
illegal
material
and
instead
continued
to
promote
and
profit
from
the
sexual
abuse
of
this
child.” 


HAWLEY,
SASSE
LEAD
CHARGE
AGAINST
PORNHUB,
HUMAN
TRAFFICKING

Twitter
did
not
directly
respond
to
this
specific
accusation
when
contacted
by
Fox
News.
Nor
did
it
respond
to
the
claim
that
it
only
suspended
related
accounts
when
a
federal
agent
intervened.

Instead,
a
spokesperson
told
Fox
News: “Twitter
has
zero-tolerance
for
any
material
that
features
or
promotes
child
sexual
exploitation.
We
aggressively
fight
online
child
sexual
abuse
and
have
heavily
invested
in
technology
and
tools
to
enforce
our

policy.
Our
dedicated
teams
work
to
stay
ahead
of
bad-faith
actors
and
to
ensure
we’re
doing
everything
we
can
to
remove
content,
facilitate
investigations,
and
protect
minors
from
harm

both
on
and
offline.”

Wednesday’s lawsuit
was
just
one
of
many
to
emerge
in
recent
months
as
large
content
distributors
like
Pornhub
faced
mounting
scrutiny
over
Child
Sex
Abuse
Material
(CSAM)
and
sex
trafficking
victims
on
their
platforms.
Tech
giants
like
Facebook
and
Twitter
generally
enjoy
immunity
under
Section
230
of
the
Communications
Decency
Act,
which
former
President
Trump
and
others
have
suggested
repealing
due
to
apparent
political
bias
in
the
way
platforms
censor content.

John
Doe’s
filing
highlights
how
Twitter
CEO
Jack
Dorsey
recently
defended
his
decision
to
permanently
suspend
Trump,
using
his
statements
as
evidence
that
of
selective
enforcement. 


SENATORS
INTRODUCE
BIPARTISAN
BILL
FURTHER
RESTRICTING
PORNOGRAPHIC
CONTENT
ON
THE
INTERNET

“We
found
it
very
interesting
that
Twitter,
over
the
last
few
months,
has
really
shown
the
world
what kind
of
policing
of
their
platform
they
are
capable
of,
what
the
technology
is
they
have
at
their
fingertips,
and
what
they
are
able
to
do,”
Lisa
Haba,
partner
at
the
Haba
Law
Firm,
told
Fox
News
in
an
interview.
She’s
serving
as
co-counsel
with
the
NCOSE
and
the
Matiasic
firm
in
San
Francisco.

Alluding
to
post-election
content
moderation,
she
added
that
“you
would
think
that
amongst
everything
they
are
able
to
police
that
there
would
be
a
premium
priority
on
the
protection
of
children.
They
literally
have
policies
stating
that
they’ll
do
that
but
their
practices
say
another
word.”
Twitter
has
denied
enforcing
its
policies
with
a
political
bias.

The
filing
also
details
communication between
John
Doe,
his
mother and
Twitter.
One
email
shows
Twitter
telling
John
Doe
on
Jan.
28,
2020,
that
it
“reviewed
the
content,
and
didn’t
find
a
violation
of
our
policies,
so
no
action
will
be
taken
at
this
time.”

“What
do
you
mean
you
don’t
see
a
problem?”
the
minor
asks
in
a response
that
same
day.
“We
both
are
minors
right
now
and
were
minors
at
the
time
these
videos
were
taken.
We
both
were
13
years
of
age.”
Haba
told
Fox
News
that
video
accumulated
167,000
views
within
a
day.
A
screenshot
also
shows
it
obtaining
more
than
2,200
retweets
and
6,640
likes.


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John
Doe
is
seeking
damages
under
the
federal
Trafficking
Victims’
Protection
Reauthorization
Act,
and
claiming
the
platform
was
a
significant
cause
of
his
distress.
As
the
suit
noted,
recent
legislation
has
clarified
that
Section
230
doesn’t
apply
to
platforms
that
knowingly
facilitate
sex
trafficking.

DHS
told
Fox
News
it
wasn’t
able
to
comment
on
pending
litigation.

Sam
Dorman
is
a
reporter
with
Fox
News.
Follow
him
on
Twitter
@DormanInDC
or
at
facebook.com/SamDormanFoxNews

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