Reporting child pornography on Twitter

How to report child pornography on Twitter

Twitter is a popular social-networking platform. Its limit of 140 characters per post makes it ideal for quick, short bursts of information, its use of hashes for Twitter users to tag content help to discover others with similar interests, and because of the character limit there’s a constant stream of new content to read.

But as all systems, it can also be abused. Just like the internet and in real life, Twitter must deal with the problem of the sexual exploitation of children. The issue we’ll be discussing is how YOU as a Twitter user, should report child pornography on Twitter.

Finding child porn on Twitter

You’re checking out your Tweet feed, catching up on the day’s events and everyone’s opinions on it when a tweet is posted/reposted/sent to you linking to Twitter account(s) which is/are posting child pornography. What do you do? You click the link(s). After all, you need to make sure it’s not a tasteless joke. And suddenly you’re faced with the horror and outrage that child pornography causes. Horror and outrage quickly change into anger, clearly something must be done instantly.

So you click “Reply” to tell the Twitter account(s) which is/are posting child pornography how angry and disgusted you are, or “Retweet” so everyone that follows you know about it, or you prepare a tweet to tell all of your followers to contact Twitter demanding that the Twitter account(s) which are posting it be removed immediately.

But before you click that pale blue “Send” button, have you really thought about what you’re about to do?

  • You’re going to send all of your followers link(s) to child pornography
  • You’re potentially going to expose your followers to child pornography
  • Your reply/tweet/repost will in turn be retweeted/reposted, spreading the link(s) to the Twitter accounts posting child porn, potentially exposing even more users to it
  • It can be argued that you are, by tweeting/retweeting/replying the link(s) to your followers, in fact helping to distribute child pornography

Remember the horror and outrage you felt when you clicked on that/those link(s) and arrived at those pages? You’re about to put your followers through the same. And if you have a large base of followers, then you’re compounding the problem. Same when you make a hash tag with the offending twitter accounts’ name/handle, or reply to the twitter account(s) in question. You’ll end up exposing everyone that follows you, as well as everyone that will tweet/retweet your post and those that stumble upon your timeline, to child pornography.

This is obviously not what you intended to do, but that’s what is going to happen.

Which is exactly why Twitter’s own guidelines on child pornography clearly state not to tweet/retweet/repost to accounts which are posting it:

Please do NOT tweet, retweet or repost child sexual exploitation for any reason. Please report it to us immediately by sending an email to cp@twitter.com and we will take steps to remove it.

What can I do to remove child pornography from Twitter?

Report the Twitter account(s) directly to Twitter yourself, as well as to local law enforcement agencies if applicable.

The removal of child pornography does not work by votes, it’s not a popularity contest or an internet petition. You don’t need to “raise your army of followers to take action”. It’s a criminal offence.

You might not be aware of how to report child pornography on Twitter. A simple search on Twitter’s support section would have given you the answer. Or using your favourite search engine search for “report child pornography on Twitter”. But in that moment of anger you took what seemed to be the quickest way to “get things done” without considering the (unintended) consequences.

You might feel the need to ask your followers for help because “I’m just one person” or “I don’t want to gain notoriety” or “I don’t want to get too involved”. As Twitter users each of us has a responsibility to report child pornography. Don’t shrug off that responsibility unto others, use the links provided here to report the issue directly to Twitter YOURSELF and STOP spreading the links. STOP replying/retweeting/reposting to the accounts in question. Report them YOURSELF to Twitter and law enforcement agencies. Doing so is not a time-consuming or difficult process.

We all wish that we could push a button and make the offending accounts disappear, and waiting for Twitter to take action can be torture. But spreading links to the accounts aggravates the problem even if you have none or a single follower, and specially if you have a large amount of followers.

Steps to report a Twitter account for child pornography

  • Compose an email to Twitter at: cp@twitter.com
  • Include the link to the Twitter account posting child pornography
  • Include direct links to tweets from the Twitter account which contain child pornography. To learn how to find direct links to tweets follow Twitter’s instructions.

The sexual exploitation of children is a social problem not limited to Twitter. Although shocking, it should not be surprising that Twitter, just like the internet and real life, must deal with the issue. But each of us can do our part to stop its spread and to unintentionally aggravate the problem.

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