An illustration pictures shows a user holding a mobile phone displaying the 'X' logo, in Los Angeles, California, US, 27 July 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/ETIENNE LAURENT

Australia imposes $385,738 fine on X for failing to tackle child sexual abuse material

Sydney, Australia, Oct 16 (EFE).- Australia’s online safety regulator announced Monday that it had imposed a AU$610,500 ($385,738) fine on X – formerly known as Twitter – for failing to combat the spread of child sexual abuse materials.

“Twitter/X has stated publicly that tackling child sexual exploitation is the number 1 priority for the company, but it can’t just be empty talk, we need to see words backed up with tangible action,” Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said in a statement.

The fine, which X can appeal in the next 28 days, is part of the Online Safety Act, adopted in Australia in 2021 and requiring technology companies to inform authorities about the steps they take to combat the proliferation of child sexual exploitation material.

The Commissioner said that X did not adequately answer questions related to the time it takes to respond to reports of child sexual exploitation in livestreams and the tools and technologies it uses to detect child sexual exploitation material as well as the number of safety and public policy employees employed at the platform.

X even left several sections “entirely blank,” the regulator added.

On Monday, eSafety also published its second report on the actions of technology companies and social media platforms on the proliferation of child sexual exploitation, sexual extortion and the livestreaming of child sexual abuse.

The Australian organization said that after the platform was acquired by Elon Musk in October 2022, “the proactive detection of child sexual exploitation material fell from 90 percent to 75 percent” and “subsequently improved in 2023.”

In February, eSafety issued legal notices to X, Google, TikTok, Twitch and Discord.

Both X and Google did not comply with the notices which has led the agency to fine X and issue a formal warning to Google.

The Commissioner said that Google was not using its own technology to detect known child sexual exploitation videos on some of its services such as Gmail, Chat and Messages, nor blocking links to known child sexual exploitation material despite the availability of databases from expert organizations like the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation. EFE