Twitter has continued to play innocent amid allegations that it allowed child pornography to circulate on the platform. Now it wants the lawsuit to go away entirely.
The company filed a motion to dismiss a child porn lawsuit, and claimed that its actions were actually protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which allows internet platforms to avoid legal liability, including civil tort law.
Twitter alleged that the plaintiff’s claims fail as a matter of law because Section 230 “shields online service providers like Twitter from liability for lawsuits based on decisions to publish or remove third-party content.”
Twitter further argued that “this case seeks to hold Twitter liable because a compilation of that explicit video content (the ‘Videos’) was—years later—posted by others on Twitter’s platform and although Twitter did remove the content, it allegedly did not act quickly enough.” It continued: “There is simply no allegation that Twitter took any affirmative act to facilitate the conduct of the Perpetrators in any way.”
The lawsuit alleged that Twitter “knowingly benefited from participation in what it knew or should have known was a sex trafficking venture,” of a minor, who is referred to in court documents under the pseudonym “John Doe.” It further alleged that Twitter “monetizes content on its platform through advertisements and data collection.”
The lawsuit alleged that, in 2017, the then- 13- or 14-year-old Doe shared explicit photos with an individual the complaint said “he believed … went to his school.” However, the complaint argued that the individuals in question were actually traffickers who “blackmail[ed]” Doe into sending “more sexually graphic photos and videos.”
In 2019, “a compilation video of multiple CSAM videos sent by John Doe to the traffickers surfaced on Twitter,” the lawsuit claimed. Both Doe and his mother reached out to Twitter regarding the videos, and also “reported the situation to a local law enforcement agency and provided Twitter with the report number for that agency,” according to the complaint.
Twitter supposedly responded to complaints from his mother by stating, “Thanks for reaching out. We’ve reviewed the content, and didn’t find a violation of our policies, so no action will be taken at this time.” Eventually, and with the help of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent, the “CSAM was finally removed.” The complaint alleged that before its removal, it had accrued “over 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets.”
Meanwhile, Twitter wasted no time in censoring former President Donald Trump on numerous occasions, including his comments about mail-in voting and COVID-19. Twitter even permanently banned the former president from its platform on January 8. However, the platform apparently has little issue leaving blatant Chinese propaganda and tweets from Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei calling for “firm, armed resistance” against the Jewish people.
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