X, previously Twitter, is making an attempt to placate lawmakers concerning the app’s security measures forward of a Huge Tech congressional hearing on Wednesday, which can give attention to how corporations like X, Meta, TikTok, and others are defending youngsters on-line. Over the weekend, the social media firm introduced through Bloomberg that it might workers a brand new “Belief and Security” heart in Austin, Texas which can embody 100 full-time content material moderators. The transfer comes over a yr after Elon Musk acquired the corporate, which noticed him drastically lowering headcount, together with belief and security groups, moderators, engineers, and different workers.
Along with this, Axios earlier reported that X CEO Linda Yaccarino had been assembly final week with bipartisan members of the Senate, together with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, prematurely of the approaching listening to. The chief was mentioned to have mentioned with lawmakers how X was battling little one sexual exploitation (CSE) on its platform.
As Twitter, the corporate had a tough historical past with correctly moderating for CSE — one thing that was the topic of a child safety lawsuit in 2021. Though Musk inherited the issue from Twitter’s former administration, together with many different struggles, there has been concern that the CSE drawback has worsened underneath his management — significantly given the layoffs of the belief and security group members.
After taking the reins at Twitter, Musk had promised that addressing the difficulty of CSE content material was his No. 1 precedence, however a 2022 report by Business Insider indicated that there have been nonetheless posts the place folks had been requesting the content material. The corporate that yr additionally added a brand new function to report CSE materials. Nonetheless, in 2023, Musk welcomed back an account that had been banned for posting CSE photos beforehand, resulting in questions round X’s enforcement of its insurance policies. Final yr, an investigation by The New York Times discovered that CSE imagery continued to unfold on X’s platform even after the corporate is notified and that extensively circulated materials that’s simpler for corporations to determine had additionally remained on-line. This report stood in stark distinction to X’s own statements that claimed the corporate had aggressively approached the difficulty with elevated account suspensions and modifications to go looking.
Bloomberg’s report on X’s plan so as to add moderators was mild on key particulars, like when the brand new heart could be open, as an example. Nonetheless it did observe that the moderators could be employed full-time by the corporate.
“X doesn’t have a line of enterprise targeted on youngsters, nevertheless it’s essential that we make these investments to maintain stopping offenders from utilizing our platform for any distribution or engagement with CSE content material,” an govt at X, Joe Benarroch, instructed the outlet.
X additionally published a blog post on Friday detailing its progress in combatting CSE, noting that it suspended 12.4 million accounts in 2023 for CSE, up from 2.3 million in 2022. It additionally despatched 850,000 studies to the Nationwide Heart for Lacking and Exploited Youngsters (NCMEC) final yr, greater than 8 occasions the quantity despatched in 2022. Whereas these metrics are supposed to present an elevated response to the issue, they might point out that these looking for to share CSE content material are more and more now utilizing X to take action.