Twitter’s XXX Legacy

Methods of communication have changed drastically over the past decade, and social media sites such as Twitter boast a stronger and more ubiquitous presence than ever before.

Methods of communication have changed drastically over the past decade, and social media sites such as Twitter boast a stronger and more ubiquitous presence than ever before. Tweeting and replying to tweets between friends, as well as following Tweets from celebrities has been popular since 2006 when the social media platform was first created. However, it was during the 2016 election campaign and post-inaugural period that Twitter took a dominant position at the front and center of the national stage.

Twitter is an outlet where people can write about what they’ve been doing, tell jokes, share opinions, and even market businesses. The ability to obtain information, photos, and videos in snippets of 140 characters or less, referred to as “Tweets,” has dramatically changed the way information travels. Unfortunately, in the company’s quest to gain market share in the world of social media, Twitter executives have allowed the platform to provide an unrestrained channel for the normalization of sexual exploitation.

Twitter has been an online pornography outlet, strip club, and sex shop all rolled into one—and this seedy XXX material is available to children and adults.

Pornography and Advertising for Sex
Twitter hosts a slew of accounts that are essentially ads for pornography performers and studios, as well as prostitution. News articles proclaiming the arrest and prosecution of Twitter users who have accessed child pornography via Twitter are frightfully common, and Tweets featuring images or videos of hardcore pornography riddle the platform.

The overwhelming prevalence of pornography on Twitter has, in fact, lead some advertisers to pull their ads from the social media platform. This reaction was caused due to the interlacing of their ads with accounts involving pornography which ultimately damaged their organization’s reputation. Nielsen, the television and digital measurement company, terminated their Twitter Ads campaign after their ads appeared on pornographic Twitter accounts. Ads from NBCUniversal and Gatorade also showed up in feeds next to pornographic images and videos.

A 2015 investigation into the extent of pornography on Twitter revealed that “as many as 500,000 sexual images are posted daily, including images of hardcore and extreme sexual practices.” With all of this new content being added daily, Twitter cannot rely solely on reports from concerned users or sensitive media flags to keep sexualized media at bay.

“People Don’t Go to Twitter for Porn, But Porn Goes to Twitter for People.”
Are these problems common to all types of social media? Yes, but not to the same extent. For instance, Facebook has a policy that prohibits posting pornography on their platforms. When detected, Facebook usually removes pornographic content within a few days, while needing much improvement, Facebook is much more proactive (although they have recently come under fire from the BBC for not acting swiftly and thoroughly for removing child pornography). As reported by the Daily Beast, “Facebook has proven hostile territory to adult stars, with many claiming their profiles are often deleted, multiple times . . . .”[1] In the same article, Pete Housley owner of Porn Star Tweet, a company that provides a service that verifies and aggregates porn stars on Twitter, said “Most porn stars have given up on Facebook at this point.”[2] So, people who engage in making pornography have often moved to the social media platform that turned a blind eye to hardcore videos and images—Twitter.

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