The dark side of Twitter

Twitter has an evil side too and sadly it’s easy to access

Social media has its perils especially when it comes to sexual predators on the internet. Child pornography is an alarming issue and it is disturbingly easy to find this on Twitter.

In the Phillippines users have unearthed specific hashtags that aggregated illicit content involving Filipino children.

Photos, videos, outbound links, and suggestive invitations from the underbelly of the sex trade in the Philippines are all just a click away, barefaced, on one of the largest and most popular social media platforms in the world.

It is scary how easy it is to find this sort of content. Child pornography and other dubious and potentially exploitative content tend to get mixed up with the hashtags of the Alterverse—a loosely organized Filipino Twitter community of anonymous men and women who engage in sexual exhibitionism and participate in hookup culture.

Where Alterverse involves consenting adults and therefore may not be as objectionable the real problem lies in innocuous hastags like #kiddiemeal that can take on a truly dark meaning when placed in a certain context.

Explicit photos of teenage boys and invitations to group chats labeled “14 to 17” were found.

There were also links to webcam pages with labels that implied that the subjects were minors.

But the most revolting Twitter content was a highly sexualized photo of a little boy, no older than 10, tweeted by an account that also posted dubious outbound links.

Twitter’s nature makes it hard to police, and its own policies state: “Twitter allows some forms of graphic violence and/or adult content in Tweets marked as containing sensitive media.”

There are limits, of course, and Twitter’s policy warns that they may ask an account to take down a post if “it crosses the line into abuse towards a person, group, or protected category” and “if [Twitter] receive[s] a request” to take down a photo.

Children and underage minors fall into a protected category, and sexual trafficking is clearly abuse.

In other words, child pornography is clearly not allowed on the platform—but, based on what we’ve seen, it seems that pornographers and traffickers have easily circumvented these rules.

The same things that make Twitter a safe haven for the Alterverse makes it difficult to police for criminal elements.

Policing social media has been a thorny topic for all the platforms, and depravity will find a way to infiltrate the most well-guarded corners of our existence.

But that only serves to underscore the most disturbing fact of the matter: As long as you know the right hashtags, child pornography is apparently just a few clicks away on Twitter—a universe we ourselves inhabit on a daily basis.

Here, evil does not even bother to hide. It’s not just a dark corner of the web anymore—the Philippines’ child sexual exploitation crisis is right at your doorstep.


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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

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