Lifestyle & Belief

Watchdog: Twitter not doing enough to prevent child abuse


A watchdog worries that Twitter does not adequately protect children against child abusers and pedophiles online.


Sean Gallup

Twitter has planned to step up its child abuse prevention efforts, after a watchdog has warned that they are lagging behind other social media sites in terms of child abuse protection.  

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP) has expressed concern that pedophiles and child abusers readily use the micro-blogging site to discuss abuse and link to pornographic images, BBC News reported

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Mark Williams-Thomas, a former detective who currently works as a child protection expert, claims users who have been flagged as child abusers have still been active on the site days or even weeks after they have been reported to Twitter, according to the BBC.

"There is always going to be a problem with social networking sites, because where there is an opportunity offenders will seek that out," Williams-Thomas told the BBC. "Clearly what Twitter needs to do is to take responsibility for its users. And when they identify there is somebody promoting child abuse material, swapping it or even discussing it, the site must come down straight away."

Twitter told the BBC that it takes action immediately upon receiving a child abuse complaint. 

"When we receive a report and identify it as valid, we take action immediately," said Del Harvey, Twitter's Director of Trust and Safety.

However, Twitter said it plans to have a team working 24 hours a day in order to investigate complaints within the next few months, according to the BBC.

Facebook has worked with CEOP to introduce "panic buttons" which enable users to report concerns about child abuse or other crimes by clicking a single link.

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According to UNICEF, more than 1 in 4 children between the ages of 8 and 19 know someone online that they haven't met in person. Of those, 28 percent went on to meet that person in real life. 

Anyone with concerns about a Twitter user can report the account by sending details to, according to the BBC.