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Australia imposes fines on X for not effectively addressing child abuse content


Australia’s internet safety watchdog has levied a hefty fine of A$610,500 ($386,000; £317,360) against Elon Musk’s X for its failure to cooperate with an investigation into their anti-child abuse efforts. This action follows a statement made by Mr. Musk in a November post, where he asserted that “prioritizing the removal of child exploitation is paramount.”

The ESC criticized the company for “empty rhetoric” on the issue.

Insiders earlier said they would not be able to protect users from ridicule after massive layoffs at X.

X, also known as Twitter, has suffered a steady decline in revenue since Mr. Musk bought it for $44 billion last year.

Under Australian law, which takes effect in 2021, regulators can compel internet companies to provide information about their cybersecurity practices or face fines. If the fine is not paid, the regulator can sue the company in court.

Alphabet’s Google was also warned for failing to provide requested information about its handling of child abuse content.

But X’s breach was more serious, with the regulator saying the company failed to “provide any answers to a number of questions, with some sections completely blank”.

The regulator added that “Twitter/X failed to answer a number of key questions, including the time it takes for the platform to respond to reports of child sexual exploitation; the measures in place to detect child sexual exploitation content on live streams; and the tools and technology used to detect child sexual exploitation content.

Australia imposes fines on X for not effectively addressing child abuse content

The company confirmed to the regulator that it had laid off 80% of its workforce globally and had no public policy staff in Australia, where it had only had two public policy staff prior to Mr. Musk’s acquisition.

In the previous month, X faced criticism from Australian researchers for deactivating a function that enabled users to report election-related misinformation. This action raised concerns, especially since it occurred just before a significant Australian referendum, which took place over the weekend, aiming to grant Indigenous people enhanced rights.

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