The UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has revealed that nearly half of the child abuse content in the social media space is being shared openly on micro-blogging platform Twitter.
According to a report in The Telegraph that accessed the IWF data, 49 per cent of the images, videos and URL links it found on social media, search engines and cloud services in the last three years were on Twitter – “making up 1,396 of the total 2,835 incidents”.
This is a scary incident as the child abuse images and videos slipped through Twitter’s filters and were available for anyone to see.
According to the IWF, it helps minimise the availability of online sexual abuse content, specifically child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world. The majority of its work focuses on the removal of child sexual abuse images and videos.
“We search for child sexual abuse images and videos and offer a place for the public to report them anonymously. We then have them removed,” it said on its website.
“The IWF found 72 incidents of abuse being openly hosted on Facebook, 18 on its sister site Instagram and 22 on YouTube,” said the report.
A Twitter spokesperson replied to the IWF report: “We have serious concerns about the accuracy of these figures and the metrics used to produce them. We will continue to work with the IWF to address their concerns and improve the accuracy of their data”.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, CEO of the IWF said that “our data is accurate and recorded fairly and consistently regardless of where we find child sexual abuse material”.
Microsoft also questioned the IWF data.
Earlier reports claimed that Microsoft’s search engine Bing is still serving child porn, and certain search terms on the platform brought up child porn images and related keywords.
“Microsoft’s Bing search engine reportedly still served up child porn, nearly a year after the tech giant said it was addressing the issue.
“The news comes as part of a report in The New York Times that looks at what the newspaper says is a failure by tech companies to adequately address child pornography on their platforms,” reports CNET.
The tech giant has long been at the forefront of combating abuse imagery, even creating a detection tool called “PhotoDNA” almost a decade ago. But many criminals have turned to its search engine Bing as a reliable tool.
“Part of the issue is privacy, some companies say,” said the report.
Health Ministry Teams Up With Twitter to Respond to Queries Around COVID-19
The Union Health Ministry has teamed up with Twitter to launch a dedicated account to respond to Indian Twitter users’ queries related to COVID-19. The new account COVID India Seve using Twitter’s Twitter Seva platform, “a customised live query redressal service.” People can put their queries forward by tweeting to @CovidIndiaSeva to get a response from the authorities. The account describes itself as “Official @MoHFW_INDIA Handle for COVID-19 Response” and it was created in March. Twitter said that the service will enable the government to interact effectively with the public during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
People in India can tweet to the @CovidIndiaSeva to seek guidance regarding steps to take if COVID-19 symptoms occur, know more about access to healthcare services, measures implemented by the government, among many other topics. According to Twitter, people will get answers to only broader questions, meaning personal queries won’t be dealt with through the new service.
Tweeting about the launch, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan wrote, “Experts will share authoritative public health information reg #COVIDー19 swiftly at scale, helping to build a direct channel for communication with citizens. Post your queries!”
@CovidIndiaSeva has been responding to the questions from Twitter users. NDTV journalist Akhilesh Sharma asked, ”Crucial question in everyone’s mind is that whether we are testing enough? What about rapid antibody based blood tests esp for COVID inflicted areas?”
Answering the question, @CovidIndiaSeva replied, “At present, 204 government labs and 86 NABL accredited private laboratory chains are involved in testing. The no. of collection centers have also been enhanced to 16,000 centers across India. We have already tested 4,05,320 people.” It went on to add, “Government of India has issued advisory to start rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19 for areas reporting clusters (containment zone) and in large migration gatherings/evacuees centers.”
Twitter India has also been working with various state governments in the country to make the COVID-19 response management better. “It has also supported and enabled the Govt of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh to set-up dedicated COVID-Response accounts. Govt. of Karnataka, Maharashtra,” it said in a statement.
Twitter Is Down for Some Users – You Are Not Alone
Twitter is down for many users across the globe. Reports are pouring from India, parts of Europe, Japan, as well as parts of the United States. We at Gadgets 360 are also facing issues when trying to access the micro-blogging platform, with some team members unable to the load the homepage, while others are unable to see their timelines or tweet. Twitter’s own support handle has yet to highlight the issue, though reports continue to flood in.
As seen on Down Detector, there have been hundreds of reports from across the globe, with most reports coming on for the Twitter website, with users of the Android app also reporting issues.
The Twitter status page says all systems are operational, as of a few seconds ago. As we mentioned, users are facing different problems, with some Gadgets 360 team members not affected at all, and others unable to tweet or load their timelines. The issue may be transient. To recall, the social network experienced a major outage earlier this month.
Are you facing issues with Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.
Twitter Said to Be Planning Bitcoin Payments as Tips on Its Platform
Twitter is considering a feature that would allow users to tip one another – in Bitcoins though.
The Information reports that the micro-blogging platform is working on implementing a new payment feature to let people send money to each other.
It is not yet clear whether the Twitter tipping feature would integrate with Jack Dorsey’s other company, Square, which is a financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment company based in San Francisco.
Dorsey has made absolutely no secret of his love of Bitcoin over the years.
NewsBTC has reported on the Twitter CEO opining that Bitcoin will one day be the currency of the internet and his company Square integrating cryptocurrency payments.
“Dorsey has been a major investor in the Bitcoin micropayments solution Lightning Network,” said the report.
Dorsey will move to Africa for three-six months this year to “define the future”.
“Sad to be leaving the continent for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid-2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part,” said the Twitter CEO.
Dorsey has also hired Bitcoin developers for his payments company.
He is an advocate of digital currency bitcoin but he also says it is “not functional as a currency”.