Twitter has closed down a string of accounts after it was revealed to contain disturbing images of child abuse.
Hacker groups claimed to have broken into the accounts to reveal graphic and deeply disturbing images of child pornography being displayed through the accounts that have now been suspended, according to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. (NSPCC)
The charity that aims to protect children from cruelty and abuse said that it received a ‘flurry’ of reports overnight about these accounts that displayed graphic images. A spokesperson for NSPCC said, “Apparently these were pretty disturbing images of child abuse. We understand the authorities in the US are now looking at the accounts.” These accounts will now be investigated in the United States where the micro-blogging website Twitter is based.
Twitter promptly suspends accounts linked to child pornography
Not just the NSPCC, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) too revealed that they had received around 30 complaints on similar grounds relating to at least four accounts. A CEOP spokesperson said, “Twitter are obliged by law to send details of any accounts containing indecent images of children to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US. NCMEC will then forward information for investigation to law enforcement agencies in the relevant country where the user is believed to be based, or children believed to be at risk.”
The graphic images of abuse came to light only after hackers managed to break open private accounts that were closed to public view, reported the NSPCC. Hacker groups have been indulging in vigilante hacktivism for a while now, acting on public reports and complaints online to expose illegal activities being conducted online. Hacktivist group Anonymous is at the forefront of this vigilante hacktivism and seems to have earned the respect of social media users for unmasking such incidents.
In this case, though, it remains unclear whether the images were uploaded by a British user or a user based abroad. The nationalities of the children involved are also not known, despite the fact that the suspension of accounts was a reaction to an uproar created by British charities that work to protect children.
Twitter has not commented on this issue specifically but made a sweeping statement saying, “We do not tolerate child pornography on Twitter. When we are made aware of such images they will be removed from the site without further notice.”
Twitter is known to take their Terms of Services very seriously and does not tolerate any lapses. Only last week, Twitter had suspended an account affiliated to the hacktivist group Anonymous for tweeting out personal information. Anonymous had tweeted out details of a member of the Westboro Baptists Church in order to protest against the extremist Church’s picketing at the funeral of the Newtown school children who were shot dead by an armed man.
The Twitter handle @YourAnonNews lodged a complaint with Twitter, following which Twitter reinstated the handle a few hours later, rapping them on the knuckles for breaking the rules and asking them to not repeat this incident again.