Is Twitter a Paedophiles Playground?August 13, 2012
Front page of the Sunday Mirror yesterday revealed that an investigation carried out by the paper had exposed paedophiles on the social media site who swap vile images of children.
The shocking investigation, the first of its kind, was led by Mark Williams-Thomas, a former detective and child protection expert and uncovered hundreds of sex offenders operating on the site to find young victims.
After the newspaper carried out the investigation it tipped off police and Scotland Yard detectives carried out a dawn raid resulting in the arrest of a man and woman last Friday. Detective Sergeant Simon Giles commented that ‘Friday’s operation demonstrates the paedophile unit’s commitment to safeguarding the most vulnerable and targeting dangerous offenders.’
As a result of the probe, Twitter closed down 36 profiles used by individuals to discuss child abuse and swap information. The newspaper further reported that within two minutes of going online it found 20 users who openly expressed their interest in under-age images and child abuse.
Williams-Thomas began his investigation by creating a fake profile and searching for key words most frequently used by paedophiles. He was immediately befriended by one user who described himself as ‘totally perverted with no morals.’ He then went on to disclose that he preferred 3-12 year old children. Other users also boasted of having pre-teen hard core images in response to one user stating he was bored of naked pictures of children and he wanted to see under 13 year olds having sex.
It is hoped following this undercover investigation that Twitter will now review its policy which currently states that it does not mediate content whether that content is an image or text. This therefore allows users to openly share child abuse material until someone reports them. The responsibility of monitoring tweets must lie with Twitter.