Home Tech Australia Imposes Fines on X for Falling Short in Combating Child Abuse Content

Australia Imposes Fines on X for Falling Short in Combating Child Abuse Content


Australia Slaps X with A$610,500 Fine for Refusing to Cooperate in Child Abuse Content Probe

Australia’s internet safety watchdog has issued a hefty A$610,500 fine to Elon Musk’s X for its failure to cooperate with an investigation into anti-child abuse practices. This action follows Mr. Musk’s public commitment last November when he asserted that “removing child exploitation is priority #1.”

The eSafety Commission strongly criticized the company for its “empty talk” on this critical issue.

Prior to this fine, insiders had disclosed that X would be ill-equipped to protect users from online harassment following widespread layoffs within the company. X, also known as Twitter, has faced a continuous decline in revenue since Mr. Musk’s $44 billion acquisition last year.

Under Australian laws enacted in 2021, the regulator has the authority to compel internet companies to provide information about their online safety measures or face financial penalties. Failure to pay the fine can lead to legal action against the company. Alphabet’s Google was also warned for noncompliance regarding its information request on handling child abuse content.

However, X’s noncompliance was considered more severe, as the regulator pointed out that the company failed to “provide any response to some questions, leaving some sections entirely blank.” The regulator emphasized that “Twitter/X did not respond to a number of key questions, including the time it takes the platform to respond to reports of child sexual exploitation, the measures in place to detect such exploitation in livestreams, and the tools and technologies used to detect child sexual exploitation material.”

X confirmed to the regulator that it had reduced its global workforce by 80% and no longer maintains public policy staff in Australia, a change that occurred after Mr. Musk’s takeover.

Notably, X faced criticism from Australian researchers last month for disabling a feature that allowed users to report election-related misinformation. This decision raised concerns, particularly in the lead-up to a crucial Australian referendum granting Indigenous people more rights, which occurred over the weekend.

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