Musk Must Tackle Child Exploitation Epidemic by Confronting Twitter’s Pornography Problem

NCOSE Press Statement logo

Washington, DC (December 13, 2022) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is calling on Elon Musk to tackle child sexual exploitation on Twitter by prohibiting pornography if and until it can institute meaningful age and consent verification for those depicted. Late Monday, Musk disbanded the Twitter Advisory Council.

“Elon Musk’s firing of most of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Team and now disbanding the Twitter Advisory Council may very well lead to making the platform even more dangerous, as there are few staff left to satisfactorily confront the platform’s child sexual exploitation epidemic,” said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Twitter allows pornography, one of the few social media platforms to do so, which enables child sexual abuse material, sex trafficking, image-based sexual abuse to thrive. Because Twitter requires no meaningful age or consent verification of those posting or selling pornography on its platform, it’s impossible to know if the sexually graphic images on the platform are consensual or of adults, not children.

“While it’s encouraging that Musk continues to express concern about child sexual exploitation on Twitter, he has not publicized clear plans for ensuring child safety and mitigating other harms on the platform.

“Musk’s intentions to implement Paywalled Video – an OnlyFans-like subscription service – is highly likely to monetize child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and other crimes, as noted by Twitter’s own analysts.

“Musk needs to build up and dedicate substantive resources to the Trust & Safety Team, rebuild the Trust and Safety Advisory Council, cease plans for Paywalled Video, remove the Pornhub account from Twitter, and prohibit pornography if and until the platform can institute substantive age and consent verification for all those depicted in content, otherwise Musk will risk the high likelihood that CSAM, sex trafficking, and Image-Based Sexual Abuse will continue to thrive – and even expand – on Twitter,” said Nealon. 

Twitter was named to NCOSE’s 2022 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center and The Haba Law Firm represent two survivors of child sexual abuse who were trafficked and exploited on Twitter in a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit has been fully briefed and is awaiting oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A New York Timesinvestigation called the proliferation of CSAM an “almost unfathomable” increase in criminality: from 600,000 images reported to NCMEC in 2008 to 60 million in 2018. Further, reports increased 35 percent between 2020 and 2021.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) 
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography. 

The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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