X Defends Record On Removing Child Abuse Content As It Promises A Safer Environment For Advertisers

X Defends Record On Removing Child Abuse Content As It Promises A Safer Environment For Advertisers

Two execs from X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, have defended owner Elon Musk’s (pictured) decision to reinstate accounts that shared child abuse material on the app.

Musk reinstated the account of American far-right influencer Dominick McGee who had shared a video produced by convicted Australian paedophile Peter Gerard Scully of a toddler being tortured.

Appearing remotely before a joint federal parliamentary committee on law enforcement, X’s global head of government affairs, Nick Pickles said:

“One of the issues that we have globally is people share content out of outrage to raise awareness. In those cases – this is not a new policy, this has been in place for many years – we review the account; if there is systematic and repeated sharing, then permanent suspension is likely the option.”

Greens senator David Shoebridge questioned Pickles’ colleague, Kathleen Reen about the video in question. Reen said that X had removed seven times more child abuse material over the past year compared to the previous year when it was known as Twitter.

However, when pressed on why McGee’s account was reinstated Reen said that she would be able to provide details later and that “We’re not necessarily here to litigate each and every case.”

Senator Shoebridge replied: “Is that because it’s globally embarrassing to X what happened, this tolerance of child sexual abuse material?”

Musk is a self-described “free-speech absolutist” and has expressed his belief that content of almost any type should be allowed on Twitter but not given “freedom of reach.”

He has also said that he “hated advertising” and seemed unbothered when his company lost around 50 per cent of its advertising dollars. However, yesterday, the company introduced new tools created in collaboration with Integral Ad Science that would deploy machine learning to ensure advertisers’ posts do not end up next to content that they deem brand unsafe.

Why these tools cannot be used to spot and remove user-generated content is unclear.

Plus, with X’s executives determined to defend Musk’s decidedly laissez-faire approach to platform safety, it seems unlikely that many advertisers will be convinced that X is a safe place to spend their ad dollars.




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