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Pornography on Twitter

Words by
Jackie Baucom

JUN 20, 2023

Pornography on Twitter

Update: Twitter changed its name to X in April 2023 and updated its logo, app icon, and website in July 2023.

Twitter is a popular social media platform for sharing thoughts, and news and connecting with others in real-time. 

Known for its short and concise messages called tweets, which have a maximum of 280 characters in each (just like the length of this paragraph!), it has become increasingly popular and controversial in recent years. 

Parents may think they know enough about Twitter because of its popularity and familiarity. After all, Twitter makes headlines almost daily. 

So many of the dangers found on Twitter get overshadowed by public figures, but parents need to know the risks and precautions they must take to keep children safe. 

father shielding daughters eyes from laptop

Risks found on Twitter

Like many other social platforms, Twitter comes with dangers such as exposure to harmful ideas, and emotional distress from encounters. The minimum age required to create an account is 13-years-old, but Twitter has no way to verify the accuracy other than asking the account holder what their age is. 

Twitter has automatic systems in place that restrict explicit content that violates the platform’s terms of use, and users can flag inappropriate tweets for Twitter’s review and potential removal. But these methods are not foolproof, leaving kids exposed to dangerous content.

Some risks that parents should be aware of are highlighted below.

Exposure to inappropriate content

Twitter is an open platform where users can post a wide range of content, including explicit language, images, and discussions. According to Twitter’s policy, graphic content can be shared on the site but can’t be featured in “highly visible” areas such as banner images, live videos, or in profile headers.

Users who decide to share explicit tweets must mark it as sensitive content, which will cause those images and videos shared to contain a warning that the viewer must acknowledge before being able to see it. Nevertheless, users don’t always follow the rules and plenty of graphic content can be found on Twitter that is not marked as sensitive.

Twitter does not allow content that is excessively gory, bestiality, necrophilia, or any sexual violence. However, on the policy page there are many exceptions listed, making it clear that children may stumble upon graphic content not suitable for their age if it is deemed educational, artistic, or even religious.

Cyberbullying

As a public space, Twitter can be a breeding ground for cyberbullying. Children can become victims of harassment, intimidation, or public shaming by peers or strangers. The instantaneous nature of Twitter’s communication can amplify the negative impact on a child’s mental and emotional well-being.

Twitter allows for private messaging and comments on tweets. Without the proper settings, kids’ tweets are available for the world to see, which invites strangers to access our children.

Privacy concerns

Twitter views itself as a sort of town hall, where all users are encouraged to speak their mind and share personal information, including location, interests, and pictures. Children may unwittingly disclose sensitive information that can put them at risk of stalking, identity theft, and other forms of online exploitation.

Online predators

Recently, a small group of Twitter employees were tasked with monitoring such content was cut in half and now includes only ten employees—only one of which works full-time. 

Pedophiles can contact children on Twitter, create rapport, and sometimes coerce the child to take personal nude photos. These predators also share, retweet, and like graphic videos and pictures of children being sexually abused. Viewing such images is illegal, but the New York Times reports such content receives thousands of views.

Lloyd Richard, the technology director of the Canadian Center for Child Protection, stated the organization was able to find a high volume of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on Twitter with minimal effort. Richard said, “It shouldn’t be the job of external people to find this sort of content sitting on their (Twitter’s) system.”

adults only neon sign

Is Pornography Allowed on Twitter?

Yes, and it’s really easy to find. Twitter prohibits videos and images of violent sexual conduct, but such content does find its way onto the platform and it has time to be watched, retweeted, and liked before being flagged and taken down. Links are often shared to outside porn sites as well.

Why Does Twitter Allow Pornography?

Twitter has said the platform is a place to share images and videos to start a conversation, and that sometimes includes nudity and sexual behavior. Twitter’s terms say they don’t allow full or partial nudity, close-ups of genitals, simulated sexual acts, or sexual intercourse. Exceptions are made for artistic, medical, health, or educational content . 

While looking through Twitter, I easily encountered all of the pornographic content Twitter claims to not allow. None of the images or videos had a sensitive warning or qualified for any of the exceptions. 

shocked man looking at cellphone

Is Twitter Safe?

No. Twitter is great for catching up on news around the world, and even reading about others’ thoughts on these topics. However, the amount of graphic and explicit content we encounter on Twitter makes it not safe. Such content can be dangerous and disturbing to young people’s developing brains.

Parents can encourage children to stay off Twitter by having conversations of the harmful things they can encounter on the app. When kids know the reasons for these rules or suggestions, they are more likely to listen.

No matter how much Twitter’s CEO preaches child safety on the platform, Twitter’s actions do not reflect these words. If you’re not confident your child is ready to confront the risks posed by Twitter, you might consider looking into safe-tech for kids, such as the Gabb Phone Plus, which allows kids to stay connected with family and friends while preventing them access to dangerous social media websites. 

As a parent, do you have a Twitter account? Would you let your young teen have an account as well? Tell us your thoughts below in the comments!

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