Elon Musk's X Fined for Noncompliance with Child Abuse Probe


Australia's internet safety authority has imposed a hefty A$610,500 fine on Elon Musk's X for its failure to cooperate in an investigation regarding anti-child abuse practices.

This action follows Mr. Musk's statement last November, where he emphasized that "removing child exploitation is priority #1".

The eSafety Commission criticized the company for what it deemed as "empty talk" on this crucial issue.

Earlier reports to the BBC indicated that X would likely face challenges in safeguarding users from online harassment following substantial layoffs.

X, popularly known as Twitter, has witnessed a sustained decline in revenue since Mr. Musk's acquisition for $44 billion last year.

According to Australian legislation enacted in 2021, the regulator possesses the authority to compel internet firms to disclose information about their online safety protocols or face penalties. Failure to remit the fine may result in legal action against the company.

While Alphabet's Google also received a warning for noncompliance in providing information about the handling of child abuse content, X's breach was deemed more severe. The regulator stated that the company neglected to "provide any response to some questions, leaving some sections entirely blank".

The regulator further noted, "Twitter/X did not respond to a number of key questions including the time it takes the platform to respond to reports of child sexual exploitation; the measures it has in place to detect child sexual exploitation in livestreams; and the tools and technologies it uses to detect child sexual exploitation material".

The company informed the regulator that it had reduced its global workforce by 80% and no longer maintains public policy staff in Australia, in contrast to the two employees present before Mr. Musk's acquisition.

Recently, X drew criticism from Australian researchers for disabling a feature allowing users to report election-related misinformation. This action has raised concerns, particularly in light of a significant Australian referendum held over the weekend to grant Indigenous people expanded rights.

The BBC has reached out to X for a statement.