X Faces Hefty Fine In Australia For Non-Cooperation In Child Safety Probe

Australia’s regulatory body has imposed a substantial fine of $386,000 (A$610,500) on Elon Musk’s social media company X for its lack of cooperation in an anti-child-abuse investigation. 

The e-Safety Commission, as reported by Reuters, levied the fine against the social media giant formerly known as Twitter because it failed to provide crucial information regarding its response time to reports of child abuse material on the platform. Additionally, the commission highlighted X’s failure to outline its future plans for detecting and preventing child abuse online.

This fine, while substantial, prompts questions about the broader implications for social media platforms. It comes in the wake of the European Union’s scrutiny of X for its alleged reluctance to moderate content related to the ongoing Middle East conflict.

Commissioner Julie Inman Grant expressed her concerns, stating, “If you’ve got answers to questions, if you’re actually putting people, processes, and technology in place to tackle illegal content at scale, and globally, and if it’s your stated priority, it’s pretty easy to say.” 

Grant emphasized that failure to address critical questions regarding illegal content suggests a lack of preparedness on the platform’s part.

The reasons behind X’s reluctance to cooperate remain unclear. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, when questioned about their efforts to prevent child grooming on the platform, the social media platform responded by suggesting that it was “not a service used by large numbers of young people.” 

Furthermore, it stated that previous anti-grooming strategies employed by Twitter were inadequate in terms of capability and accuracy.

X now faces a deadline of less than 30 days to pay the imposed fine. Failure to comply could lead to more severe penalties. 

Grant explained, “If they don’t pay the fine within 28 days, then we at eSafety can take them to a civil penalty proceeding, take them to court, and depending on what the court decides, the overall fine could be much higher — up to $780,000 per day from the time that they’re found being out of compliance since March.”

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