In a significant move by the Australian internet safety watchdog, Elon Musk’s X, also known as Twitter, has been hit with a hefty fine of A$610,500 ($386,000; £317,360) for its failure to cooperate with a probe into anti-child abuse practices.
This fine comes in the wake of a post made by Mr. Musk last November, where he stated that “removing child exploitation is priority #1.”
However, the eSafety Commission did not take these words at face value, criticizing the firm’s “empty talk” on the critical issue.
The probe was initiated under Australian laws that came into effect in 2021, allowing regulators to compel internet companies to provide information about their online safety practices or face financial penalties.
The regulator’s response to Twitter’s noncompliance was severe, stating that the company had failed to “provide any response to some questions, leaving some sections entirely blank.”
Twitter/X failed to address crucial queries, such as the platform’s response time to reports of child sexual exploitation, measures to detect such content in livestreams, and the tools used to identify child sexual exploitation material.
What further exacerbates the situation is the fact that Twitter/X confirmed that it had laid off 80% of its global workforce and no longer had public policy staff in Australia, a stark contrast to the state of affairs before Mr. Musk’s takeover.
This development raises questions about the company’s ability to effectively manage and regulate content on its platform, particularly when it comes to sensitive issues like child safety and exploitation.
The incident marks a blow to Twitter’s image, particularly in a time when online platforms are under increasing scrutiny to ensure the safety of their users.
As social media continues to play a significant role in our lives, the responsibility of these platforms to address issues of child exploitation and misinformation becomes ever more critical.
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