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U.K. minister wants Twitter to do more about child pornography

Home Office minister Jeremy Browne called on Twitter to open talks with the U.K. government about cracking down on child pornography.


Kris Holt


Posted on Sep 27, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 10:26 am CDT

The U.K.’s new Home Office minister Jeremy Browne called on Twitter to reconsider its stance on taking part in child protection and child pornography discussions.

Following a number of reports that pedophiles are using Twitter, the minister was asked about the issue. According to Public Service, he said Twitter and other social media providers needed to do more in order to make their communities safer for kids.

All of the “major players” adhere to the European Union’s Safer Social Networking Guidelines and are working with U.K. and/or EU governments, Browne said, though Twitter appears to be holding out.

“Twitter unfortunately have not taken part in these discussions despite being encouraged to do so by U.K. government officials earlier this year,” he said. “We would urge Twitter to rethink their stance.”

While Twitter doesn’t formally abide by the EU’s guidelines, it claimed to have child pornography reporting standards similar to those used on Facebook and other social networks, adding that its zero-tolerance measures had approval from the U.S., the EU, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

“When we are made aware of links to images of or content promoting child pornography they will be removed from the site without further notice and reported to the NCMEC,” a Twitter spokesman told Public Service. “We permanently suspend accounts containing updates with links to child pornography.”

Twitter said that it’s part of a group of social networks, agencies, and law enforcement bodies sharing best practices of finding and reporting such content and is currently building software into its systems to help catch “known images” of child pornography.

It’s impossible for the company to look at every single tweet, so Twitter relies on the community to flag instances of illegal or rule-breaking content. Automating the discovery of child pornography images in the community should certainly go some way towards curbing the issue.

Photo of Browne via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Sep 27, 2012, 2:08 pm CDT