Musk’s X Fined $3,86,000 Over Lack Of Information On Child Abuse Content


Sydney: X, the social media platform rebranded by Elon Musk from Twitter, has been fined A$610,500 ($386,000) by the Australian e-Safety Commission for its failure to cooperate in an investigation related to anti-child abuse practices. This fine comes as another challenge for the platform, which has been grappling with declining revenue and advertiser concerns about its content moderation practices. X, formerly Twitter, was penalized for not responding to inquiries, including response times to reports of child abuse material and the methods used for detection.

Although the fine is relatively small compared to the $44 billion acquisition cost that Musk paid for the platform in October 2022, it does impact the company’s reputation. X has been dealing with a continuous drop in revenue due to advertisers reducing their spending on the platform, mainly due to concerns about inadequate content moderation and the reinstatement of previously banned accounts.

Recently, the European Union initiated an investigation into X for potential violations of its new tech rules after the platform was accused of failing to combat disinformation regarding the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Commissioner Julie Inman Grant stated, “If you’ve got answers to questions, if you’re genuinely committed to implementing measures to combat illegal content on a global scale, and if it’s a top priority, it should be straightforward to respond.” She added, “The only reason to avoid answering significant questions about illegal content and platform behavior is if you don’t have the answers.”

X closed its Australian office following Elon Musk’s acquisition, which left no local representation to respond to Reuters. A request for comment sent to the San Francisco-based company’s media email address remained unanswered.

Under Australian laws introduced in 2021, the regulator has the authority to compel internet companies to provide information about their online safety practices or face fines. If X refuses to pay the fine, the regulator can pursue legal action against the company.

After taking the company private, Musk emphasized that “removing child exploitation is priority #1.” However, when asked how the platform prevented child grooming, X responded that it wasn’t widely used by young people. X also stated that available anti-grooming technology was insufficient for deployment on Twitter.

In addition to the fine for X, the commission also issued a warning to Google for noncompliance with its request for information about handling child abuse content, describing Google’s responses to some questions as “generic.” Google expressed disappointment with the warning but reiterated its commitment to collaborate on online safety.

X’s noncompliance with the regulator was considered more severe, including a failure to answer questions about response times to child abuse reports, the detection of child abuse in livestreams, and staff numbers related to content moderation and safety. The company confirmed that it had reduced its global workforce by 80% and has no public policy staff in Australia, down from two prior to Musk’s takeover.

X informed the regulator that proactive detection of child abuse material in public posts decreased after going private. The company also mentioned that it didn’t utilize tools to detect such material in private messages, citing ongoing technology development as the reason.

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Disclaimer: (This story, title and image has not been edited by StorifyNews staff and is published and modified content from other source.

Piyush Banerjee
Piyush Banerjee
Piyush Banerjee is an author and a passionate connoisseur of the world of media. With an appetite for knowledge and an insatiable curiosity, Piyush's writing delves into Films, Technology, and Global Affairs. Piyush has an innate love for storytelling, and has a fiction novel available on Amazon. He has been interested in Storify News for several years and is excited to make news more accessible and interesting to consume.

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