In the same vein as the post Beware of Kids Chat (NSFW, Disturbing Content), there’s another disturbing site that needs attention: Twitter, of all places! Specifically, it’s a certain Twitter hashtag that’s being used to trade child pornography, namely #MegaLinks. The YouTuber ReignBot, who’s been mentioned a few times here, covered this site in her video Stories From Our Disturbing World | Episode 5:
SomeOrdinaryGamers has also covered it in the video #MEGALINKS: The Dark Side of Twitter. In context, this hashtag pertains to the site Mega.io (formerly Mega.nz), which is a cloud storage platform sometimes used for filesharing. In and of itself, the platform isn’t illegal, but like Tor, I2P, and Freenet, it emphasizes privacy and anonymity. Any time you have a tool like that, there’s a potential for abuse. Under the hashtag, some Twitter accounts are sharing links to Mega.io accounts on which child abuse material exists. (There’s a reason that people on Mastodon call Twitter “birdshite.”)
Notably, after Twitter starting getting attention for this, it seems that they have been making some effort to clean it up and go after accounts involved in the abuse. One thing that ReignBot didn’t mention in her video was that there are other associated hashtags such as #dropboxlinks, #dropboxtrade, and #s2r (send to receive). Since Twitter may have been trying to ban the original hashtag, users may have come up with other ones to replace it. As Mutahar (SomeOrdinaryGamers) pointed out in his video, however, it’s not necessarily the fault of Twitter or Mega that the abuse is happening, but if at all possible, the tech companies need to take steps to try to prevent these sorts of crimes.
In essence, this just makes it clear that child abuse not only happens on the dark web, but on the clearnet just as much, even on large social media platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, and Facebook. The average user may not notice it, because they haven’t followed such accounts, or because the content review teams have managed to filter it out.
So, what can the average user do about this? If it’s on Twitter, report it in as much detail as possible, and perhaps also report the site that the account is linking to. If the social media platform isn’t doing enough to try to prevent it, you can also get the feds involved. NCMEC: CyberTipline