The Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell has registered a case against Twitter Inc for allegedly having child pornographic and sexual abuse content on their platform.
A complaint was lodged by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on May 29 this year regarding such content being present in the form of various accounts and links on the website.
Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said the Cyber Crime Cell is acting on the complaint and a case has been registered under sections of the POCSO Act, IT Act and IPC.
“The complaint is against Twitter Inc and Twitter Communication India Private Ltd (TCIPL),” said the DCP.
The complaint has been filed by Priyank Kanoongo, chairperson of NCPCR. Officials said when they began looking, they found 31 websites on the dark web with “highly obscene content” which is available to everyone, including children.
“Such material was also found to be available on Twitter where many links are within the reach of users, and they can obtain such material through different handles. These Twitter handles also provided links to WhatsApp groups through which this material can be obtained. It was also observed by the Commission that the toolkit for deep and dark web was also available on Twitter, thus giving access to all, including children, to obtain such material,” reads the complaint.
The complaint mentions that the social media platform permits children aged 13 and above to use the site and access content, thus violating the POCSO Act.
“It was observed by the Commission (NCPCR) that… Twitter does not report such cases to the authorities in India, which is mandatory as per… POCSO Act. It was seen that they report the cases to… a US-based agency. This is a violation of the POCSO Act, which applies to the whole of India,” reads the complaint.
According to the complaint, the Commission approached TCIPL, which told them that “Twitter Inc and TCIPL are distinct and separate companies” and they can’t control any data pertaining to any of the users. Also, Twitter India “plays no role in the operation and control of the platform…and can’t furnish any details as required by the Commission”.
Responding to the complaint, a Twitter India spokesperson said, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation, and we have a proactive approach to combat sexual exploitation of minors on our service. We will continue to invest in proactive detection and removal of content that violates the Twitter Rules and work with law enforcement and NGO partners in India to tackle the issue.”
“We use PhotoDNA technology, our own proprietary tools, and other systems to detect behavioral signals and remove media; which also, in many cases, helps us remove new accounts linked to this type of content before they have even sent their first tweet… All viewing, sharing or linking to child sexual exploitation material, regardless of the intent… is prohibited on our service. This includes media, text, illustrations or computer-generated images,” the spokesperson said.
The NCPCR also referred to a complaint it had filed against a journalist last year, alleging that he had threatened and stalked a minor. The commission said his account is still active and Twitter has not taken action against him so far.