Safety Update: X Platform Implements Video and GIF Scanning for Child Abuse Material

The social media platform X, spearheaded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has implemented new measures to combat the spread of child sexual exploitation materials (CSEM) online. The move comes as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to make the platform a hostile environment for individuals seeking to exploit minors.

In a blog post on December 28, 2023, X’s safety team emphasized the platform’s zero-tolerance policy towards child sexual exploitation. The company stated that it has significantly strengthened its enforcement and detection mechanisms throughout the year, leading to the permanent suspension of over 11 million accounts for violations related to CSEM policies from January to November of 2023.

Under Musk’s leadership, X has sent a total of 430,000 reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline in the first six months of 2023, compared to just over 98,000 reports sent in 2022. Officials revealed that the platform has detected and suspended bad actors at a much faster rate than before, reducing the discoverability of CSEM content by over 99 percent since December 2022.

One of the key measures introduced to achieve this is the “Search Intervention for CSE Keywords,” which allows X to block search results for certain terms associated with CSEM. Additionally, the platform has deployed “Expanded Hash Matching” to evaluate all videos and GIFs uploaded for CSEM, resulting in over 25,000 pieces of media being matched since its implementation in July 2023.

In addition to these advanced measures, X has reiterated its commitment to collaborating with organizations such as the NCMEC, the Tech Coalition, and WeProtect to tackle emerging threats and behaviors. The company also stressed its close partnership with law enforcement agencies worldwide to bring bad actors to justice and provide them with the necessary tools and information to prosecute these crimes.

However, this development comes in the wake of a penalty being imposed by the Australian eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) against X for allegedly failing to comply with government requirements related to CSEM. The commission claimed that X failed to deliver required information regarding its efforts to address CSEM activities on the platform, imposing a fine of Australian $610,500 (US $414,400) as a result.

As X pledges to maintain its focus on eradicating child sexual exploitation, the company reassured users that its commitment to ensuring both freedom of expression and user safety is unwavering. Looking ahead to 2024, X aims to expand its efforts in educating users about the importance of combating child sexual exploitation online while continuing to invest significantly in this critical area. This determined approach underlines Musk’s vision to make X a platform where users can engage in public discourse without compromising their safety.

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