Australia’s internet safety agency fined Elon Musk’s X on Monday, saying the social media platform failed to demonstrate how it is combating child sexual abuse content.
ESafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant fined the corporation formerly known as Twitter an Aus$610,500 (US$385,000) punishment for its “empty talk” on the problem.
Inman Grant, a former Twitter employee, has also issued a formal warning to Google for failing to meet its responsibilities in dealing with child abuse material.
Since his acquisition, billionaire Musk has cut more than 80% of X’s global employees, including many of its content moderators who are in charge of combating harassment.
Proactive detection of child sexual exploitation on X fell from 90 percent to 75 percent in the three months after the takeover, Inman Grant said.
“Twitter/X has stated publicly that tackling child sexual exploitation is the number one priority for the company, but it can’t just be empty talk.
“We need to see words backed up with tangible action.”
In February, Inman Grant served legal notices on a number of online sites, requesting that companies demonstrate how they moderated and removed extremist content.
She explained that both X and Google’s reactions were lackluster because they were either concerned about public impression or their methods were inadequate.
“Both scenarios are concerning to us and suggest they are not living up to their responsibilities and the expectations of the Australian community.”
Australia has led the global push to regulate social media networks, and Inman Grant is not the first to call out X or Musk.
In June this year, she raised concerns about a spike in more general “toxicity and hate” following Musk’s takeover in October last year.
AFP requested comment from X but the company’s response was an email saying: “Busy now, please check back later.”
Google told AFP it had developed a “range of technologies” to detect, report and remove child sexual abuse material.
“We remain committed to these efforts and collaborating constructively and in good faith with the eSafety commissioner, government and industry on the shared goal of keeping Australians safer online.”