Child sexual abuse material posted on the Internet and social media platforms has a major effect on survivors, both while it remains online and afterward. These images and videos subject survivors to abuse again and again every time the material is viewed, downloaded or shared.
Some legislators want to ensure there are consequences for corporations that allow child sexual abuse material to be posted on their Internet platforms by third parties. A bill has been re-introduced in Congress that would do just that.
The EARN IT Act
A bill has been introduced in Congress that would crack down on online platforms that display content depicting child sexual abuse. The bill is referred to as the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act).
Under this bill, corporations would be stripped of the current legal immunity that protects them if there is child sexual abuse material posted by third parties on their websites and social media platforms. While these corporations are currently required to detect and remove child sexual abuse material on their platforms, there is no real motivation to do so, as there are no penalties for failing to meet this obligation.
This bill would give current law teeth. Under the bill, if a corporation knows child sexual abuse material is being posted on their online platform, they could face legal liability. In addition, the bill would help identify those who are posting or sharing child sexual abuse material online or through social media platforms.
Holding those responsible liable
Anyone who posts child sexual abuse material online for the world to see, as well as those who view it or share it should be held responsible for the significant harm they have caused survivors. These survivors have often suffered from childhood into adulthood, and their abusers might never face the consequences of their actions.
The EARN IT Act would not only help identify those who produce and distribute child sexual abuse material, but it would make sure the companies that turn a blind eye towards the images and videos posted on their websites and social media platforms are held accountable for the damage their indifferent attitude has caused child sexual abuse survivors.