Home » Twitter Fined $386,000 in Australia for Withholding Details on Fighting Child Abuse Material

Twitter Fined $386,000 in Australia for Withholding Details on Fighting Child Abuse Material

by Lucas Finis
Twitter Australia child safety fine

Australian regulator eSafety has slapped a hefty $386,000 fine on social media firm Twitter, now known as X, over failing to adequately provide details on its efforts against child sexual abuse material. The penalty spotlights mounting scrutiny of tech companies’ commitment to combating harmful content.

In February, eSafety issued legal notices to several prominent platforms including Google, TikTok, and Discord demanding answers on their approach to tackling child exploitation content. While most complied, Twitter left some responses blank and provided inaccurate or incomplete data.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant admonished Twitter for the deficiencies, stating the company’s public vows to make child safety its number one priority rang hollow without real transparency and accountability. The Australian agency has threatened additional fines if Twitter’s reporting does not improve.

The episode exacerbates existing concerns around Twitter’s seemingly slipping focus on content moderation under new owner Elon Musk. Last month, Twitter removed a feature allowing users to report election misinformation, raising alarm among watchdog groups.


Musk also quickly dismissed Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, an advisory group providing input on thorny issues like child abuse material removal. Along with mass layoffs across the company, critics argue these actions reflect ambivalence towards upholding content standards.

The Australian fine sets a precedent other regulators may follow if transparency around safety practices does not improve. The potential loss of public trust represents a significant risk for Twitter’s reputation and business. Advertisers have already fled the platform due to controversies around relaxed content policies under Musk.

Twitter defended its anti-abuse programs as industry-leading but admitted process breakdowns led to incomplete Australian reporting. The company pledged cooperation with eSafety to resolve the issues.

However, the fine underscores how even minor compliance errors on sensitive issues like child safety can have serious repercussions for platforms. It also demonstrates regulators’ willingness to punish companies financially when transparency fails, no matter how dominant the firm is.

For Twitter’s new leadership, the episode highlights how actions that appear to deprioritize trust and safety can undermine vital relationships with authorities. Rebuilding public confidence after frequent controversies will require steadfast focus on demonstrated integrity, not just words.

If platforms hope to sustain favorable environments for users and advertisers alike, they must view content policy as an existential corporate priority demanding their full commitment. When it comes to society’s most vulnerable, regulators have shown tech companies will be held accountable.

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