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Australia fines ‘X’ $610, 500 over child abuse content, warns Google 

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Australia’s online safety regulator, eSafety, has fined Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, the sum of $610,500 (AUD) for failing to answer its questions over reports of reports of child sexual exploitation on the platform. 

The regulator also found search giant, Google, was found guilty of the same offence, but noted that its case was not as serious as that of X, hence, Google was issued a formal warning. X, which is currently battling disinformation allegations from the European Union was given 28 days “to request the withdrawal of the infringement notice or to pay the penalty.” 

eSafety in a statement released on Monday said 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 it has in place to detect child sexual exploitation in livestreams; and the tools and technologies it uses to detect child sexual exploitation material.

The company also failed to adequately answer questions relating to the number of safety and public policy staff still employed at Twitter/X following the October 2022 acquisition and subsequent job cuts, according to the online watchdog. 

While noting that the proliferation of online child sexual exploitation is a growing problem both in Australia and globally, eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said technology companies have a moral responsibility to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse being stored, shared, and perpetrated on their services. 

Announcing its recent findings from notices issued to tech companies operating in the country, Grant said:  

Grant said Twitter/X and Google’s non-compliance was disappointing especially as the questions relate to the protection of children and the most egregious forms of online harm. 

 

In Nigeria, the government is also working towards regulating social media. However, it is unclear yet what stance the regulation will have on content detrimental to children.

Last week, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said it was engaging with major social media platforms to curb the excesses of their users. 

According to the Director, of Broadcast Monitoring at the NBC, Francisca Aiyetan, young people could be misguided if social media is not regulated. She said the NBC has already sent a regulation bill to the National Assembly. 

 

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