A teenage sex trafficking victim has filed suit against Twitter for refusing to take down appalling images of him posted by child trafficking rings, with Twitter claiming they “didn’t find a violation” of the company’s “policies,” according to the suit.
Twitter’s “terms of service” would better serve the American people if they were written on toilet paper. They are about as useful.
While Twitter attempts to act as though matters such as “misinformation” about the 2020 election or tweets which “encourage violence” are egregious, they still allowed the 2016 Russia hoax and Antifa tweets to remain on the platform. In other words, Twitter is hypocritical.
The New York Post reported that the pornographic images and videos of the victim were allowed to remain on the platform. In a federal suit filed this past Wednesday in the Northern District of California, the victim, now 17 and his mother allege that the social media tyrant made money off the clips.
The videos and images showed the victim, who was 13-years-old at the time engaged in sex acts which “are a form of child sexual abuse material, or child porn” the suit says according to the Post.
The victim now lives in Florida and is only identified in the suit as John Doe was between 13 to 14-years-old when sex traffickers who posed as a 16-year-old female classmate started to chat with him on Snapchat, according to the suit.
Mediaite reported that in January of last year, the teen and his mother filed a complaint with Twitter asking them to remove the content. Twitter allegedly refused, telling them, “If you believe there’s a potential copyright infringement, please start a new report.
“What do you mean you don’t see a problem?” the teen replied to Twitter. “We both are minors right now and were minors at the time these videos were taken. We both were 13 years of age. We were baited, harassed, and threatened to take these videos that are now being posted without our permission. We did not authorize these videos AT ALL and they need to be taken down.”
Twitter finally removed the videos, however only after the victim’s mother contacted an agent with the Department of Homeland Security, who contacted the company.
The Christian Post said that the video had received over 167,000 views with over 2,000 retweets.
The lawsuit reads in part that it “seeks to shine a light on how Twitter has enabled and profited from [child sexual abuse material] on its platform, choosing profits over people, money over the safety of children and wealth at the expense of human freedom and human dignity.”
The lawsuit has been enjoined by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), the Haba Law Firm, and the Matiasic Firm.
The suit continued, “When Twitter was first alerted to this fact and John Doe’s age, Twitter refused to remove the illegal material and instead continued to promote and profit from the sexual abuse of this child.”
It continued that Twitter permits “numerous profiles, posts, comments and other content either advertising, soliciting, or depicting” child sexual abuse.
“As John Doe’s situation makes clear, Twitter is not permitted to removing child sex abuse material from its platform,” said NCOSE Senior Legal counsel Peter Gentala in a statement.
“Even worse, Twitter contributes to and profits from the sexual exploitation of countless individuals because of its harmful practices and platform design. Despite its public expressions to the contrary, Twitter is swarming with uploaded child pornography and Twitter management does little or nothing to prevent it.”
In response to the lawsuit, a Twitter spokesperson told The Christian Post that the company would not comment on the suit directly but claims that the company has “zero-tolerance for any material that features or promotes child sexual exploitation.”
“Our dedicated teams work to stay ahead of bad-faith actors and to ensure we’re doing everything we can to remove content, facilitate investigations, and protect minors from harm—both on and offline,” the statement, sent in an email, continued.
The incident began in 2017 with the interaction on Snapchat. The exchange between the victim and the user on Snapchat included the victim sending naked photos of himself to that bogus account.
“After he did so the correspondence changed to blackmail,” the suit says. “Now the Traffickers wanted more sexually graphic pictures and videos of John Doe, and recruited, enticed, threatened and solicited John Doe by telling him if he did not provide this material, then the nude pictures of himself that he had already sent, would be sent to his parents, coach, pastor and others in his community.”
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The victim initially submitted to the demands and provided videos of himself engaging in sex acts, which included videos of him engaging in sexual acts with a friend, also a minor. The trafficker was subsequently blocked by Doe on Snapchat and the communications ceased.
However, in 2019 the videos sent by the victim to the traffickers surfaced on Twitter under the handles of @StraightBoss and @fitmalesblog. The suit says that Twitter was notified about the materials by a concerned citizen in December 2019.
In January 2020 the victim was informed that students at his school had seen the videos. Because of that, he was subjected to teasing, harassment, vicious bullying and started to feel suicidal thoughts.
After filing the complaint in January 2020 and Twitter claiming the videos didn’t violate their policies, the suit claims that Twitter should have realized the content had comments which “acknowledge that the material was depicting minors,” and expressed shock that Twitter didn’t see a problem with the content.
“Only after this take-down demand from a federal agent did Twitter suspend the user accounts that were distributing the CSAM and report the CSAM to the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children,” the suit said.
“This is directly in contrast to what their automated reply message and User Agreement state they will do to protect children.”
Twitter has been identified by NCOSE as one of a number of businesses and/or organizations on the group’s annual “Dirty Dozen List” that are complicit in “perpetuating” sexual exploitation in any form.
The Christian Post says that according to reports, as many as 10 million Twitter accounts may have sexually explicit content contained within or other content deemed “not safe for work.”
NCOSE alleges that Twitter has done “little to stem the overwhelming tide of sex trafficking, prostitution and pornography accounts on its site.” The organization claims Twitter is used every day to advertise commercial sexual exploitation.
“It has been documented by law enforcement that pimps and sex traffickers often either coerce trafficking or child sexual abuse victims into making such social media or advertising posts or create the posts themselves in their victim’s name,” the 2020 Dirty Dozen List explained.
“This is what was found to happen on Backpage.com—the notorious classified ads website that was recently shut down by the Department of Justice for knowingly facilitating sex trafficking.”
The New York Post reached out to Twitter for comment, which they initially refused to provide, however later in the day sent a statement by email.
“Twitter has zero-tolerance for any material that features or promotes child sexual exploitation. We aggressively fight online child sexual abuse and have heavily invested in technology and tools to enforce our policy,” a Twitter spokesperson wrote.
“Our dedicated teams work to stay ahead of bad-faith actors and to ensure we’re doing everything we can to remove content, facilitate investigations and protect minors from harm—both on and offline.”
Sounds like it’s a canned reply to all the media outlets.
Hopefully John Doe prevails. Because at Law Enforcement Today¸ we have zero tolerance for tech tyrants who say one thing and do another.
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