X confirmed this week that it blocked users from searching for Taylor Swift’s name after the artist’s pornographic in-depth spoofs began circulating on the platform. Visitors to the site began noticing on Saturday that some searches containing Swift’s name would only return an error message. in his statement to The Wall Street Journal “This is a temporary move and is being done out of an abundance of caution as we prioritize safety in this matter,” said Joe Benarroch, X’s head of business operations, on Saturday night. The move comes days after the problem was first identified.
X’s handling of the matter from the start has drawn criticism that it was slow to prevent the spread of non-consensual, sexually explicit images. After the images went viral on Wednesday, Swift’s fans took matters into their own hands to limit their visibility and delete them, mass-notifying accounts sharing the images and flooding hashtags related to the singer with positive content. NBC News reported earlier this week. Many of the offending accounts were subsequently suspended, but not before they had been viewed millions of times in some cases. The Verge On Thursday, one post was reported to have been viewed more than 45 million times.
In a statement released on its platform that day, X said: “The posting of non-consensual nudity (NCN) images is strictly prohibited on X, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for such content. Our teams actively remove all identified images and take appropriate action against the accounts responsible for posting them. We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure that any other violations are promptly remedied and the content removed. We are committed to maintaining a safe and respectful environment for all users.”
However, it was still possible to find the footage a few days later. 404Media investigated the possible origin of the images as belonging to a Telegram group known for creating non-consensual AI-generated images of women using free tools, including Microsoft Designer. in an interview with NBC News’ On Friday, Lester Holt, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, said the issue highlights what the company’s responsibility is and “all the safeguards we need to put around the technology to have more secure content being produced.” He went on to say that “there’s a lot to do and a lot to do,” but also noted that the company needs to “move fast.”