‘Empty talk’: Elon Musk’s X fined $386,000 by Australian regulators

‘Empty talk’: Elon Musk’s X fined $386,000 by Australian regulators

Tech News

Elon Musk-owned social media platform X (formerly Twitter) was fined A$610,500 or $386,000 by the country’s internet safety watchdog on Monday for failing to show how it tackled child sexual abuse content.

According to a Reuters report, the Australian e-Safety Commission fined X for failing to answer questions such as how long it took to respond to reports of child abuse content on the platform and how child abuse material was detected.

In an interview, Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, a former Twitter employee herself, noted, “If you’ve got answers to questions, if you’re actually putting people, processes and technology in place to tackle illegal content at scale, and globally, and if it’s your stated priority, it’s pretty easy to say,”

“The only reason I can see to fail to answer important questions about illegal content and conduct happening on platforms would be if you don’t have answers,” Grant added.

Grant noted that X’s commitment to tackling the sexual exploitation of children cannot just be empty words, but must be backed up by concrete action. Grant was quoted by AFP as saying: “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.”

Shortly after taking over the company in a $44 billion deal last year, Musk had claimed in a post that “removing child exploitation is priority #1”. However, the Australian regulator claims X responded to a question about preventing child grooming on the platform by saying it was “not a service used by large numbers of young people”, Reuters reported.

The Australian law, which came into force in 2021, gives regulators the power to compel internet companies to provide information about their online safety practices. Grant says if X refuses to pay the fine, the regulator will take the matter to court.



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Updated: 16 Oct 2023, 08:19 AM IST

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