Social media giant Twitter has reportedly refused to take down a child pornography video and now moves to dismiss a lawsuit on it.
FaithWire reported that Twitter's lawyers argue immunity to legal consequences mentioned in the Communications Decency Act of 1996 Section 230. The said legal counsels have actually filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by a minor for failing to remove pornographic videos of him posted in the said platform when he was aged 13.
In a statement posted last January 20, the National Center On Sexual Exploitation exposed that Twitter "knowingly distributed" the child's videos and refused to remove them.
The statement said that a joint federal lawsuit has been filed against Twitter by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center, the Matiasic Firm, and the Haba Law Firm at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of the minor who was sexually exploited by the social media platform. The case is officially called "John Doe vs Twitter."
"John Doe, a minor, was harmed by Twitter's distribution of material depicting his sexual abuse, and by Twitter's knowing refusal to remove the images of his sexual abuse (child pornography) when notified by the plaintiff and the plaintiff's parents," the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center said in the statement.
FaithWire explained that the now-teenager was taken advantage by a Snapchat predator pretending to be his female classmate. The predator blackmailed him to send more explicit photos and videos of himself before he was able to block the account. Doe later found out the said videos were uploaded in Twitter when it surfaced in 2019. He then experienced bullying from his classmates because of it. He then contacted Twitter but was told the videos will not be removed since it does not violate their standards.
"Thanks for reaching out. We've reviewed the content, and didn't find a violation of our policies, so no action will be taken at this time. If you believe there's a potential copyright infringement, please start a new report. If the content is hosted on a third-party website, you'll need to contact that website's support team to report it. Your safety is the most important thing, and if you believe you are in danger, we encourage you to contact your local authorities," was Twitter's initial response to Doe when he asked the videos to be taken down.
Doe, as per the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center, discovered the said videos when he was 16. However, the company waited for the video to accumulate 167,000 views and a "direct involvement from a law enforcement officer" before they actually took it down.
"All of these views could have been prevented by Twitter, but it inexplicably refused to remove Doe's videos despite clear proof that he is a minor," Haba Law Firms' Lisa Haba pointed out.
"No child or parent should have to endure this egregious violation of their rights by a technology company," she added.
FaithWire cited human trafficking survivor advocate Eliza Bleu in saying Doe's case as a "modern-day example of David and Goliath." Bleu tweeted about Doe's case on January 22 and revealed that the actual Twitter post of Doe's explicit video was even retweeted 2,223 times. She said Doe "inspired" her in ways one "can't imagine" after journeying with him, who she called a "brave young man" who "deserves justice."
John Doe was a 13 years old.
He was trafficked.
His abuse was watched 167,000 views and 2,223 retweets on Twitter.
Twitter told Doe that it didn’t violate their terms of service.
Twitter sued for allegedly refusing to remove child porn https://t.co/fJzQwqVb0d
— Eliza (@elizableu) January 21, 2021
According to Justia, the case's presiding Judge is Joseph Spero, the Chief Magistrate Judge of the said District Court, it also indicated that Doe has also filed a protective order.