Twitter found itself in the eye of a storm following the controversial reinstatement of an account belonging to right-wing influencer, Dominick McGee. The account, boasting over 500,000 followers, was previously suspended after McGee posted an image featuring child abuse, allegedly to highlight the issue of child sex trafficking. After an outcry from followers claiming political bias, Twitter owner Elon Musk revived the account, explaining that the abusive posts would be deleted, yet sparking outrage from critics.
“Only people on our CSE team have seen those pictures,” Musk claimed in a tweet, in reference to the social media company’s child sexual exploitation staff. “For now, we will delete those posts and reinstate the account.”
But, the shared image reportedly garnered over three million views and 8,000 retweets, demonstrating Twitter’s increasing struggle to manage such content. Experts including Gavin Portnoy, VP of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, explained that even redacted or obscured images featuring children often constitute child sex abuse material (CSAM). “Generally speaking, even if it is redacted, if it’s clear it’s a child, it’s still CSAM,” he said, as cited by the Washington Post.
Dominick McGee, popular among followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory network, claims his suspension was due to his posts about former President Barack Obama, not the child abuse image. The image in question was retrieved from of a notorious video made by Peter Gerard Scully, an Australian currently serving life in prison for sexual abuse of children, rape, and human trafficking.
The company’s turbulent approach to content moderation under Musk’s leadership has raised eyebrows and could impact Twitter’s ability to regain advertisers, which have previously left due to concerns over Musk’s management.
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