Why is Porn still Easily Accessible on Twitter?
Sat, 10 Aug 2019 || By Janitra Haryanto

When the Indonesian government decided to block the access to porn sites years ago, the spread of pornographic contents had been thought to be restricted. However, the advent of social media and the rise of its users has presented new home works for the Indonesian government. With social media grows to be the main Indonesian information and communication platforms, selling access to porn databases through social media, especially Twitter, becomes a lucrative business model to operate. The distribution of porn videos and images in the social media is not only concerned to impose negative effects to the children, but also causes character assassination since most of the contents are stolen from private databases, meant for personal use and showing the personally identifiable information of individuals. While the government and Twitter has acknowledged this problem[1], tackling down the Twitter porn industry is not as easy as it seems. This article will deliver the argument on why, even when parties have possessed the concern, porn videos are still widely and easily accessible in Twitter.

The challenge of eradicating pornographic content

The spread of pornographic content has actually been addressed in the rules and policies of Twitter. Written in its rules and policies, the social media giant has restrict the spread of sensitive media content (adult content, violent sexual conduct, hateful imagery and gore graphic) [2], as well as non-consensual nudity contents[3]. The penalty for the violation ranges from asking to remove the content to permanently suspend the content, depending on the level of violation. However, the current mechanism seemed less effective to stop the distribution of pornographic content in Indonesia. This article assumed that there are, at least, two reasons of why porn has a high-level of resilience when it comes to its non-proliferation in Twitter.

First, multiplication of account. When an account is identified as posting pornographic contents, Twitter will suspend the account. The action is executed under the report delivered by the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kemkominfo) or by fellow Twitter users with the available report option. However, every time an account is being suspended, a new account (presumably made by the same mastermind) appears followed by two other accounts working as the backup accounts.

To make the backup accounts recognizable, the main reborn account usually put the backup account username in the bio of the main account. The backup accounts usually use similar names to the main account. For instance, when the account @duhenak (not the real username) is being suspended, an account named @duhenakreborn appears with the bio written, “the reborn account of @duhenak. Backup accounts: @duhenakreborn1 @duhenakbanget.” Consequentially, this multiplication strategy imposes multiplied task for both Twitter and the government to tackle the problem.

Secondly, to some extent, suspending a massive number of pornographic accounts would inflict a grave financial impact for Twitter. The comparable case happened in 2018 when Twitter had been accused of contributing the spread of fake news within the platform. As the company’s commitment to restore the platform as a safe and healthy sphere to communicate, it developed and implemented a new tool which could detect suspicious accounts and suspended it. Henceforth, in a quarter period, the platform had suspended and lost one million users. Consequentially, its stock plunged down 21%[4]. The same scenario could possibly occur when Twitter decided to suspend every porn accounts interacted by Indonesian users. The colossal number of Twitter accounts may impose a significant drop of Twitter users and will lead to the a possible financial loss for Twitter.

New approach is needed

The current mechanism to combat the spread of pornographic content in Twitter is certainly inadequate. In spite of Twitter’s effort and Indonesian’s government’s regulation, pornographic contents remain well-served in the timeline and alarming for the well-being of the underage individuals[5]. Criticism are thrown towards Twitter’s action to cater the problem, saying that placing caution sign when a user is about to open an account or content with pornographic content gives insufficient contribution towards the end of porn in Twitter[6]. Therefore, both Indonesian government and Twitter must seek a new approach to create a safer space in the social media.

Editor: Anisa Pratita Mantovani

Read another article written by Janitra Haryanto


[1] Hutabarat, D. (2015). Kemkominfo minta Twitter Inc memblokir Akun Berisi Nudity dan Pornografi. Kemkominfo [online] Available at: https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/5077/kemkominfo-minta-twitter-inc-memblokir-akun-berisi-nudity-dan-pornografi/0/berita_satker. [Accessed on: 30 Jul. 2019].

[2] Twitter, (2019). Sensitive media policy. [online] Available at: https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/media-policy. [Accessed on: 30 Jul. 2019].

[3] Twitter, (2019). Non-consensual nudity policy. [online] Available at: https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/intimate-media/ [Accessed on: 30 Jul. 2019].

[4] Shaban, H., & Timberg, C. (2018). Twitter’s stock plunges after reporting drop in user numbers. The Washington Post [online], Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/07/27/twitters-monthly-users-fell-by-million-second-quarter-following-purge-fake-suspicious-accounts/?utm_term=.0ea8bffd2860. [Accessed on: 30 Jul. 2019].

[5] Zaenudin, A. (2019). Pornografi Tetap Hidup dan Baik-Baik Saja di Semesta Twiter. Tirto [online] Available at: https://tirto.id/pornografi-tetap-hidup-dan-baik-baik-saja-di-semesta-twitter-ed17. [Accessed on: 30 Jul. 2019].

[6] Ibid.