Delhi Police has filed a report against Twitter for allegedly allowing access to child pornography on the social media platform.

FIR Filed Against Twitter For Allowing Child Pornographic Content On The Platform

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Jun 30, 2021 12:02 PM +05:30 IST
FIR Filed Against Twitter For Allowing Child Pornographic Content On The PlatformTwitter
  • Delhi Police Cyber Crime Unit has filed an FIR against Twitter under relevant sections of IPC, the IT Act and the POSCO Act for allowing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the platform.

Based on a complaint from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the Delhi Police has filed a first information report (FIR) against Twitter Inc and Twitter Communication India Private Ltd. for allegedly facilitating access to child pornography on the microblogging platform, said officials on 29 June. According to them, the complaint was filed under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Information Technology (IT) Act.

The complaint was filed only days after the NCPCR, which is India's top child rights organisation, urged Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy to explain why no action had been taken against the social media giant in response to its 29 May letter to the Delhi Police. In that letter, the organisation requested to file a complaint against Twitter based on the findings of its recent investigation that indicated child sexual abuse material (CSAM) was readily available on the platform. Additionally, NCPCR stated that it had discovered that "the toolkit" for the dark web was also available on Twitter—as a result, people, including the youngsters, will be able to receive CSAM.

According to reports, Chinmoy Biswal, who is the Delhi Police Public Relations Officer said: "Acting on a complaint received from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights regarding the availability of child sexual abuse and child pornographic material on Twitter in the form of various accounts and links, an FIR under relevant sections of IPC, IT Act and POCSO Act has been registered by the Cyber Crime Unit, and investigation has been taken up".

This is not the first time that child pornographic content is found on Twitter. A 2016 report claimed that images of young girls in their school uniforms or swimsuits being swapped on Twitter to sell them as child pornography, even though they are genuinely innocent. As per BBC, Joseph Cox, a freelance journalist, found on the social media platform that some individuals asked for similar photographs to be traded and made explicit comments on them. At that time, Twitter said that "we do not tolerate child sexual exploitation" and added that it works with authorities and organisations to combat the exploitation of children.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), an American non-profit known for its anti-pornography stance and anti-sex trafficking advocacy, stated in its website: "Twitter has allowed rampant accounts and posts that function as advertisements for commercial sex, pornography, and even the trading of child sexual abuse materials (i.e. child pornography). It has also failed to prioritise the safety of sex trafficking and child abuse survivors who are exploited on the app. Twitter must be held legally accountable and it must introduce robust and proactive efforts to remove exploitation".

Citing a report from last year, NCOSE said that paedophiles are actively utilising Twitter to disseminate information about how to obtain photographs of child sexual abuse. It also added that although Twitter is responsible for helping to prevent sexual exploitation, the responsibility for reporting sexually graphic tweets or accounts has been moved to the individual user by default, and as a result, users will be unable to avoid pornographic content on the platform. "Whether an individual is 'followed' on Twitter by a pornographic account, or sees pornographic images in 'trending' topics, it is virtually impossible for a regular Twitter user to avoid sexually explicit content," added NCOES.

However, if someone thinks that they have come across a Twitter account that is distributing or supporting child sexual exploitation, they can report it on Twitter's Help Center. While reporting such issues, the users are advised to include the username as well as links to pertinent tweets, which led them to believe that the account should be looked into.

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