X Faces $610,500 Fine in Australia for Failing Anti-Child-Abuse Standards

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Australian authorities have imposed a hefty fine of $386,000 (A$610,500) on Elon Musk’s social media platform, X, because of its failure to cooperate in a probe into anti-child-abuse practices.

This action reflects the increasing scrutiny tech giants face in terms of content moderation and the protection of vulnerable users.

Tech Companies Found to Fail in Protecting Vulnerable Users

Earlier this year, the Australian eSafety commission scrutinized various tech companies, including X, TikTok, Google, Twitch, and Discord, finding that many of them were not fulfilling their responsibilities in combating child sexual exploitation. This issue is not unique to Australia, as it’s a growing concern worldwide.

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The eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, has now gained the authority to require online service providers to report on how they are addressing these concerns under the eSafety Act. Grant emphasizes that companies must establish trust and safety teams and employ various methods and technologies to tackle such content effectively. She stated:

“This was about the worst kind of harm, child sexual exploitation, as well as extortion, and we need to make sure that companies have trust and safety teams.”

Musk Falls Short on Promise

Elon Musk, after taking X private, declared that “Removing child exploitation is priority #1.” However, Australian regulators posed essential questions about how the platform prevents child grooming, to which X responded that it is “not a service used by large numbers of young people,” as reported by ABC.

Additionally, X cited limitations in available anti-grooming technology, deeming it “not of sufficient capability or accuracy to be deployed on Twitter.”

X now has 28 days to pay the fine; failure to do so could lead to civil penalty proceedings. Ms. Inman Grant explained that if they don’t pay the fine within the specified time frame, the overall fine could increase significantly, potentially reaching up to $780,000 per day since being found out of compliance.

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This action comes after the commission issued a “please explain” notice to the platform regarding hate content earlier. The hate notice remains part of an ongoing regulatory investigation, with consistent conversations between the commission and Twitter X aimed at determining if they’re doing enough to combat online hate.

Tarnished Reputation Could Result in Revenue Decline

Although this fine may seem relatively small compared to the hefty sum Musk paid to acquire the website in October 2022, it has had a significant impact on X’s reputation. The platform has faced revenue declines as advertisers reduced spending due to concerns about content moderation and the reinstatement of thousands of banned accounts.

Google, another tech giant, also received a warning from the commission for noncompliance with its request for information on its handling of child abuse content. In response, Google expressed its commitment to collaborating constructively to ensure online safety.

Tech Giants Crucial in Child Safety

However, Ms. Inman Grant stressed the importance of actions matching words, particularly for mature companies like Google with extensive resources and technologies. She underscored the need for these companies to use their technologies across all their platforms to prevent child sexual exploitation and material from being hosted and shared.

The Australian fine on X sends a clear message that tech companies must take stronger measures to protect users, especially children, from harmful content. It also signals the increasing global focus on ensuring that these platforms are safe for all users.

Meta Description Australia fines X for anti-child-abuse failures. Growing scrutiny on tech giants’ content moderation and protection measures.


Bal M

Bal was BTW's copywriter specialising in tech and productivity tools. He has experience working in startups, mid-size tech companies, and non-profits.

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