Twitter sparked widespread controversy earlier this week over its decision to ban then-President Donald Trump’s account due to allegations that he had used it to incite violence.
While the social media giant has been heavy-handed in its approach to perceived violations by conservative users, a new lawsuit claims that its moderators are turning a blind eye to another type of potentially dangerous content: exploitation of minors.
“Teasing, harassment, vicious bullying”
According to the Daily Caller, Twitter is being sued by an anonymous teen identified in court records as “John Doe.”
The complainant alleges that the tech company allowed human traffickers to post sexually explicit material that featured him.
“Due to the circulation of these videos, he faced teasing, harassment, vicious bullying, and became suicidal,” his attorneys asserted.
According to reports, the teen was between 13 and 14 years old when the content was created and he allegedly submitted a complaint to Twitter. In response, he claims he was instructed to supply identification to prove that he was the individual being depicted therein.
Even after Doe provided identification and his mother filed a police report a short time later, however, the suit claims that the videos were still not removed.
“Harmful practices and platform design”
The company reportedly sent the complainant a message that stated: “Thanks for reaching out. We’ve reviewed the content, and didn’t find a violation of our policies, so no action will be taken at this time.”
All future communications from Doe and his mother were allegedly ignored and the lawsuit claims Twitter only acted after an agent with the Department of Homeland Security made contact.
The Daily Caller reported that the offending content was finally taken down, but not until “it had been retweeted over 2,000 times and had over 167,000 views.”
Doe is reportedly being assisted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Its legal counsel, Peter Gentala, excoriated the tech company for its handling of the complaint.
“As John Doe’s situation makes clear, Twitter is not committed to removing child sex abuse material from its platform,” he said. “Even worse, Twitter contributes to and profits from the sexual exploitation of countless individuals because of its harmful practices and platform design.”