John Shehan, an executive at the center, said he was worried about the “high level of turnover” at Twitter and where the company “stands in trust and safety and their commitment to identifying and removing child sexual abuse material from their platform.”
After the transition to Mr. Musk’s ownership, Twitter initially reacted more slowly to the center’s notifications of sexual abuse content, according to data from the center, a delay of great importance to abuse survivors, who are revictimized with every new post. Twitter, like other social media sites, has a two-way relationship with the center. The site notifies the center (which can then notify law enforcement) when it is made aware of illegal content. And when the center learns of illegal content on Twitter, it alerts the site so the images and accounts can be removed.
Late last year, the company’s response time was more than double what it had been during the same period a year earlier under the prior ownership, even though the center sent it fewer alerts. In December 2021, Twitter took an average of 1.6 days to respond to 98 notices; last December, after Mr. Musk took over the company, it took 3.5 days to respond to 55. By January, it had greatly improved, taking 1.3 days to respond to 82.
The Canadian center, which serves the same function in that country, said it had seen delays as long as a week. In one instance, the Canadian center detected a video on Jan. 6 depicting the abuse of a naked girl, age 8 to 10. The organization said it sent out daily notices for about a week before Twitter removed the video.
In addition, Twitter and the U.S. national center seem to disagree about Twitter’s obligation to report accounts that claim to sell illegal material without directly posting it.