Twitter “pauses” plan to monetize porn for fear of exposing pedophilia

Twitter is the most tolerant social network with pornography. Unlike Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, it does not ban images or videos that show female genitalia or breasts. It also allows you to post explicit and sexual content. In search of new revenue, the company this spring finalized a plan to take that strategy one step further and monetize pornography.

Twitter’s purpose was to develop a tool so that users who post sexual content could pay a subscription to those who wanted access to it. The platform will keep a percentage of the revenue, in a business model very similar to OnlyFans. The company plans to bring in $2.5 billion this year, half of Twitter’s revenue in 2021.

The management of the social network thought that it would easily take part of this market. It was already halfway there: a large number of creators – the majority of whom are women – who publish their content on OnlyFans use Twitter to promote themselves. It’s the only one in which they can do it openly, due to the obvious content veto on the rest of the networks.

The decision to monetize porn comes at a crucial time for Twitter. He had just closed a sales deal with Elon Musk (in court today) and was looking for ways to be profitable, which he has only achieved in the last ten years.

Before the final launch, the company decided to stop. As the specialized technology media showed TheVerge, Behind this decision was the fear of a safe place for pedophilia and violence. “Twitter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity on a large scale,” warned the 84-person team’s report, which was accessed by the aforementioned media.

This group of employees was called the “Red Team” (red team) and was created specifically for Twitter to stress test the new tool for porn before it receives final directive approval. His conclusion was that Twitter is now struggling to remove such illegal content, so he advised against moving forward with a porn monetization strategy.

The final report is dated April. In May, Twitter abandoned the project to compete with OnlyFans.

Twitter, linked to ElDiario.es, did not want to specify how much the Red Team’s report influenced its decision to stop the launch of subscriptions to adult content. “It was our ongoing and thoughtful dialogue on this issue that led to our decision to suspend the work process for the right reasons and prioritize elsewhere,” the spokesperson said.

The Red Team’s reports, however, went beyond the problems that would be caused by the new tool that Twitter was about to launch. According to documents published by The Verge, they decry that the resources the company devotes to combating this illegal content are insufficient and that moderators are “keeping the ship running with little or no support from other departments.”

“While the amount of child exploitation content online has grown exponentially, Twitter’s investment in technology to detect and manage the growth is lacking,” another internal memo warned: “Teams are managing workloads using legacy tools with known vulnerabilities.”

From the reports supported by the statements of employees and former employees, it can be concluded that the management of the social network is aware of these problems, but did not act to solve them. Twitter denies the issue, insisting the revelations offer a decontextualized picture of its actions.

“Recent reporting on Twitter takes a momentarily outdated look at just one aspect of our work in this space and is not an accurate reflection of where we are today,” their spokesperson said. “Our work continues; since then, we’ve focused and expanded our resources dedicated to child safety. We’re also hiring, which underscores our continued investment in this cause.”

“Twitter has zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation. We fight tirelessly against online child sexual abuse and have invested heavily in technology and tools to implement our policies. Our teams work to stay ahead of unscrupulous actors and ensure we’re protecting minors. Online and Offline”, the same sources emphasize.

Nevertheless, revelations TheVerge Experts are not surprised to condemn this type of content. “We have been condemning this situation for many years,” Marcelino Madrigal, a cybersecurity expert who collaborated with security forces in the investigation of pedophilia on social networks, told elDiario.es.

“Twitter is not used to exchange this type of content, but as a method of contact between those who wish to do so. Then they go to private messaging like Telegram because there is no traceability,” he continues. “Most of the child abuse content on this network is in private accounts, and it only takes a few minutes to find it,” said an expert who appeared before the House Internal Affairs Committee in 2013 to ask lawmakers to address the problem of child pornography on social networks. Networks that were exploding then.

“Twitter doesn’t have the interest and ability to control that,” he charges.

The social network has been embroiled in these types of complaints in recent months. Last week, its former security chief went before the US Senate and detailed that he had “repeatedly” warned Twitter’s board about flaws in its systems, but they “refused to make the necessary changes to create a more secure platform”.

The author of these complaints, Peter Zatko, is a well-known hacker with decades of experience. Under his nickname “Mudge” (Lodo), he discovered and denounced many security holes, worked for the US government, and his wife is a senior official of the NSA, the US security agency. Twitter denied the allegations and linked Zatko’s decision to make the disclosure to a legal battle it has with Elon Musk.

“Mr. Zatko was fired in January 2022 as a senior executive at Twitter due to his ineffective leadership and poor performance,” the spokesperson explained in a statement sent to elDiario.es. What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and security practices, riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacking in context.

Source: El Diario

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