scorecardIn the weeks after Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter, the company reportedly shelved a plan to compete with OnlyFans due to its struggles detecting child sexual abuse imagery
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In the weeks after Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter, the company reportedly shelved a plan to compete with OnlyFans due to its struggles detecting child sexual abuse imagery

Samantha Delouya   

In the weeks after Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter, the company reportedly shelved a plan to compete with OnlyFans due to its struggles detecting child sexual abuse imagery
Tech2 min read
The Twitter app logo.    Chesnot/Getty Images
  • Just weeks after Elon Musk agreed to buy Twitter, the company reportedly scrapped plans for an OnlyFans copy.
  • The Verge reports that an internal team found that Twitter does a poor job policing harmful sexual content.

This past May, just a few weeks after Elon Musk agreed to purchase Twitter, the company reportedly quietly shut down plans to build an OnlyFans copy, citing one main reason: Twitter's growing problem with harmful sexual content.

Through leaked internal memos and conversations with former employees, The Verge uncovered Twitter's plans to monetize adult content and found they were axed after an internal team concluded that "Twitter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity at scale."

OnlyFans, a subscription service used primarily for pornographic material, has exploded in popularity since the start of the pandemic.

The Verge reports that Twitter executives saw an opportunity to copy OnlyFans' subscription-based model since Twitter already quietly allows adult content.

Twitter's teams police pornographic content with outdated technology "with known broken windows," The Verge reports, citing an internal report.

The Verge also found that Twitter's executives are aware of this issue but have done little to fix it - instead focusing efforts on speeding up revenue growth and user numbers.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider, but a Twitter spokesperson told The Verge, "Twitter has zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation. We aggressively fight online child sexual abuse and have invested significantly in technology and tools to enforce our policy. Our dedicated teams work to stay ahead of bad-faith actors and to help ensure we're protecting minors from harm — both on and offline.

Elon Musk entered into a legally binding agreement to buy Twitter in April, just a few weeks before plans for an OnlyFans competitor were reportedly scrapped, but Musk has since made attempts to back out of the deal, citing Twitter's alleged issue with fake accounts and bots.

A former researcher at Twitter told The Verge that Musk's exclusive focus on bots and not the site's other issues, including its poor track record policing harmful content, was a "gut punch."

"For Elon Musk to declare that spam was the single most important question that needed to be answered in order for him to buy the company is ludicrous," the researcher said.




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