Due to rising pressures, Twitter has begun blocking certain accounts in Germany. Since late 2020, the social media giant has been shutting down approximately 60 accounts, but the exact number of accounts blocked is unknown.
This action is the result of legal orders by German regulators that have ruled that online pornography should not be visible to children. Regulators stand firm that this type of content must be hidden behind age-verification systems.
Now, anyone attempting to view one of the blocked accounts in Germany will have a message pop up saying that the account has been “withheld”. And the accounts affected are not small. One of these accounts that now displays this message has more than 700,000 followers.
The Age-Verification Issue
The reason for the instant jump to accounts being blocked lies with the age-verification system, or lack thereof. As of right now, Twitter doesn’t have an age-verification system in place. So, when German regulators determined pronographic content should not be accessible, but there were no age-checks in place, Twitter had to crackdown quickly.
The Kommission für Jugendmedienschutzfirst (KJM) first filed complaints about Twitter profiles back in September 2020. Marc Jan Eumann, the chairman of KJM, the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM) which regulates child safety issues in Germany, said, “Porn on social media is a problem.”
He went on to say that while it’s important everyone has “freedom of expression” online, it is “obviously unlawful” to distribute such adult content without age-verification systems in place.
“We are looking for dialogue with these companies,” Eumann shared. “Twitter, for example, blocked porn profiles for German users after we instigated legal proceedings. We were actually the first authority in Europe to do so and we will continue.”
Twitter’s Response to Regulators Request
As mentioned, Twitter’s response thus far has been to vanish dozens of profiles. Anyone trying to view these profiles will be unable to see a profile picture, bio, or any posts. Further, if another account retweeted the profile or posts from the profile, they will be blocked as well.
So far, this decision has been met with different responses. Many are grateful something is being done to ensure children cannot access adult content. But crticis have argued that the German approach seems broad and random, lacking overall transparency. While German regulators shared their thoughts, Twitter has declined to comment on the blocks.
Blair Thomas has been a music producer, bouncer, screenwriter and for over a decade has been the proud Co-Founder of eMerchantBroker, the highest rated adult payment processing provider in the country. He has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a hurricane, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. He currently calls Thailand his home with a lifetime collection of his favorite books.