Twitter on Saturday blocked searches for a. Series of hashtags and keywords used to promote. The sale of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), following an investigation by. Todaystrendnews posted earlier in the day.
Todaystrendnews found that a series of hashtags on platforms related to file-sharing service. Mega served as rallying points for users looking to trade or sell CSAM. Todaystrendnews monitored . The hashtags for several weeks and counted dozens of users. Who publish hundreds of tweets per day.
The accounts used veiled keywords and terms related to. CSAM to promote content stored on Mega, which they said was available for sale or trade.
Twitter bans any promotion of CSAM on its platform and. Since CEO Elon Musk took over the company, he has been vocal in criticizing. The company’s former leadership, claiming. They did not do enough to address child sexual exploitation content on the platform. Musk said in November that cleaning up . The platform and addressing child exploitation on it is his “#1 priority.”
An examination of the hashtags by Todaystrendnews found that some accounts had been using them for months. And that dozens of users had tried to alert Musk to the issue using the hashtags. Hashtags, yet, appeared to be unregulated until Saturday.
After the Todaystrendnews report on. Friday, Ella Irwin, Twitter’s vice president of product trust and safety. which includes overseeing child protection on the platform. Said in an email, “We’ll do a specific more review this weekend and see what we find. You know that the links you shared are related to a file sharing service. That is used for a wide variety of purposes and thus makes . It more difficult to find specific illegal content posted using. The hashtags in question.”
In a follow-up email Saturday. Irwin said he met with his team over the weekend and decided to ban . The hashtags, which he said had been reviewed by the company. Twitter
“We are already reviewing doing. This in the coming weeks, because we have . Already banned other hashtags used to traffic [CSAM] material, but we decided to. Speed up this step for these conditions,” he said.
Irwin said Twitter spent the past six weeks. Analyzing thousands of hashtags for a project . That was scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks. He noted that the company did not want to ban hashtags that had a legitimate use. But in this case the company decided to act.
“If bad actors use these specific terms and . Avoid our detection despite our detection measures. We would rather be biased towards making it more difficult to do so on our platform,” Irwin wrote.
In a review of hashtags and tweets last week. Todaystrendnews confirmed that searches related to file-sharing site Mega were blocked. Other hashtags related to various encrypted platforms and . Other keywords associated with CSAM were still active.
In an email Friday, Stephen Hall, executive chairman of Mega. Said the encrypted service, which is based in . New Zealand, had a zero-tolerance policy toward CSAM. “If a public link is reported as containing CSAM, we immediately disable . The link, end the user’s account and provide full details to. New Zealand authorities and any relevant international authorities,” Hall wrote.
In an email Tuesday, Hall responded to news of . Twitter blocking mega-related terms, writing that . It was “a rather blunt response to a complex situation.” Twitter
Despite Musk’s claims on Twitter . That he is prioritizing eliminating CSAM, layoffs and staff reductions have appeared to. Throttle the company’s trust and safety group, where employees oversee child protection.
Fewer than half the number of employees now work in trust and safety at . The company than at the end of 2021, according to Securities and . Exchange Commission documents and internal records obtained by Todaystrendnews According to Bloomberg. The trust and security team went even further cutting this month.
A former employee who asked to remain anonymous because. They signed a nondisclosure agreement . Said many employees who worked on child protection issues have left the company.
Irwin said in an email that Twitter “has about 25% more staff in this issue/problem space. Than it did at the company’s peak last January.” He said, “Many of the employees who were on the child protection team last year are no longer part of . The company but this happened between . January and August last year as Twitter experienced rapid attrition across the company.