Social media platform X announced several new initiatives to combat the sexual exploitation of children online, coinciding with the REPORT Act being signed into law by President Joe Biden on Tuesday, May 7.

X, formerly Twitter, said on May 7 that it is working with Thorn, the nonprofit anti-trafficking organization founded by actors Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, and participating in the beta of its Safer Predict Child Sexual Abuse text classifier. The technology is designed to “detect sextortion patterns and other exploitative behavior and content.”

The company also announced it is participating in Tech Coalition’s Project Lantern, sharing data with other participating companies to identify cross-platform bad actors that use multiple services to traffic child sexual exploitation (CSE) material.

X said that in the first quarter of 2024, it has already submitted approximately 175,000 reports to NCMEC’s CyberTipline and suspended 1.5 million accounts for prohibited content or actions including CSE material, grooming, blackmail and identifying alleged victims of CSE.
The social media platform is also boosting its content moderation capacity, saying it is “steadily building” its X Support Center in Austin, Texas, and training more agents.

The Revising Existing Procedures on Reporting via Technology (REPORT) Act, authored by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), requires internet companies such as Facebook, Instagram and X to report crimes against children involving sex trafficking, grooming, or the enticement of children for sexual acts to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline. They were previously only required to report child sexual abuse materials (CSAM).

“X applauds Senator Blackburn’s leadership in combating the exploitation of children, strengthening critical partners like NCMEC, and helping law enforcement bring criminals to justice,” X CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a statement.

The NCMEC’s CyberTipline is a centralized system that takes reports of child exploitation from across the country and makes them available to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The new law increases the amount of time the CyberTipline is allowed to preserve reported evidence to one year, up from just 90 days. It also for the first time allows victims and their parents to report abuse directly to the NCMEC.

X Announces New Measures To Combat Child Exploitation Online By Detecting 'Sextortion Patterns'
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Along with requiring a wider range of crimes to be reported, the REPORT Act also increases penalties for companies that fail to report exploitative content, with fines ranging from $150,000 to $1 million, depending on the offense and the size of the company.

TMX contributed to this story.

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