Despite serving as the online watercooler for journalists, politicians and VCs, Twitter isn’t the most profitable social network on the block. Amid internal shakeups and increased pressure from investors to make more money, Twitter reportedly considered monetizing adult content.
Some adult creators still reportedly rely on Twitter as a means to advertise their OnlyFans accounts, as posting porn doesn't violate its guidelines.
However, an 84-employee "Red Team" discovered that Twitter cannot detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) at scale if it allows adult content to stream via its platform.
An investigation by The Verge, based on leaked documents and interviews with employees, revealed that Twitter had assembled an 84-person ‘Red Team’ in April to ‘pressure-test the decision to allow adult creators to monetize on the platform, by specifically focusing on what it would look like for Twitter to do this safely and responsibly’.
To detect such content, Twitter uses a database developed by Microsoft called PhotoDNA, which helps platforms quickly identify and remove known CSAM. But if a piece of CSAM isn’t already part of that database, newer or digitally altered images can evade detection.
Twitter's yearly revenue is nearly $5 billion, a tiny amount compared to a company like Google, which earned $257 billion in revenue last year.
Google and Meta have more sophisticated technology to identify CSAM, and still these systems are not full-proof.
As of August, the team responsible for developing the Adult Content Monetization feature has been reorganised and combined with a team tasked with identifying spam accounts.
With plans for monetising adult content canned, Twitter is focusing on other features like ‘Circle’ to get users to stay on the platform.
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