Australia asks Twitter, Google to provide information on steps against online child abuse

SYDNEY: An Australian regulator has sent legal letters to Twitter and Google telling them to hand over information about their efforts to prevent online child abuse.

The action by the country’s e-safety commissioner keeps a spotlight on the anti-exploitation practices at Twitter under the ownership of billionaire Elon Musk, who called child protection his top priority.

“With Elon Musk declaring child sexual abuse a top priority, this is an opportunity for him to explain what he is indeed doing,” Julie Inman Grant, e-safety commissioner, told Reuters in an interview, referring to several of Musk’s tweets.

She said it was in Twitter’s interests to show that it was acting effectively to eradicate child sexual abuse material, otherwise advertisers could turn away from the company.

Inman Grant, who had served as a public policy director for Twitter until 2016, said the responses of larger tech firms, coupled with reports of looser content moderation at Twitter since Musk took over, prompted her to take action.

Twitter closed its Australian office after Musk’s buyout so there was no local representative to respond to Reuters, and a request for comment sent to the San Francisco-based company’s media email address was not immediately answered.