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Elon Musk says Jack Dorsey and Twitter ‘refused’ to stop child exploitation

Jack Dorsey is defending Twitter’s handling of child exploitation as Elon Musk says the company ignored the problem.

Musk tweeted it “is a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years.”

The public disagreement, which began on Friday, comes as Musk continues to reveal internal documents that contradict Dorsey’s testimony before Congress on the platform censoring conservatives.

Musk’s post was in response to a tweet from a Twitter user that linked to a New York Post report on a lawsuit that alleges Twitter refused to take down images of a teenager who was tricked into sending explicit photos of themselves to sex traffickers when they were aged between 13 and 14.

The lawsuit, which does not identify the plaintiff, accuses Twitter of refusing to do so because it did not find the images violated its policies on child porn. It also accused the company of profiting off the footage.

Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter CEO in November 2021, quickly responded to Musk’s tweet, writing, “This is false,” prompting another response from Musk.

“No, it is not. When Ella Irwin, who now runs Trust & Safety, joined Twitter earlier this year, almost no one was working on child safety,” Musk said. “She raised this with Ned & Parag [former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal] but they rejected her staffing request. I made it top priority immediately.”

Musk then accused Agrawal of having “super messed up priorities.”

Accounts linked to child trafficking, exploitation  suspended

“I don’t know what happened in past [sic] year. But to say we didn’t take action for years isn’t true. You can make all my emails public to verify. Company [sic] took away my access to email or I would,” Dorsey fired back.

Forbes previously investigated the availability of exploitive material on Twitter. Saying that it will be difficult for Musk to find and delete it, the news outlet reported:

“In under an hour of searching on Tuesday, Forbes found dozens of users offering to buy and sell child sexual abuse images and videos. One offered footage of nude children ages 5 to 17. Another mentioned an exchange of images of children being abused on Telegram. Both these tweets, as well as nearly 30 others either promoting or seeking CSAM, were posted in the last week.

Simply searching the same words in banned hashtags revealed advertisements for much of the same content. One Twitter search for links to a well-known online storage platform returned a number of tweets offering videos of young boys and girls having sex with fathers and “with adult,” as well as images of “forced sex.”

The public disagreement between Musk and Dorsey comes shortly after cybersecurity and data analyst Andrea Stroppa, who has been working as an independent researcher on Twitter’s Trust and Safety team in recent weeks, revealed the number of accounts that are being suspended by Twitter on a daily basis for sharing child sexual abuse and exploitation material has nearly doubled since Musk took over the platform.

From Dec. 3 to 4 alone, Stroppa confirmed that Twitter had taken down 44,000 “suspicious accounts” of which over 1,300 had attempted to avoid detection by using “codewords and text in images to communicate.”

Additionally, Stroppa noted that Twitter, under Musk, has updated and streamlined the way it detects content related to child sexual abuse or exploitation material to make it more efficient and “aggressive.”

Musk previously said that removing child exploitation from Twitter was his number one priority.

On Thursday, three members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council resigned.

–Wire services


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