Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall
Self-described ‘Minor Attracted Persons’ are getting a free pass to use social media to push their twisted, rebranded agenda of having sex with children. It’s time to act, Jack Dorsey.
Twitter, as an organization, is very censorious. Everyday someone is suspended, shadow-banned, banned outright or has a particular tweet taken down for any of the multitude of sins the gods of Silicon Valley deem beyond the pale. We know these rules are not enforced evenly across the board – lefty accounts are given quite a large amount of wiggle room, whereas right wing or conservative accounts often feel they are only ever 240 characters away from Jack Dorsey’s digital hit squad.
This is annoying, but not surprising. Everyone has biases and they are inclined to go easier on people or groups that share them. And given that Twitter is headquartered in one of the wokest parts of the planet, it is easy to tell why a blue-haired feminist tweeting “kill all white men” gets a free pass, whereas posting moderate skepticism about transgenderism can get you removed completely.
However, to the best of my knowledge, pedophilia is not a left-right issue. I thought at least one thing we could all support, from the Proud Boys to Antifa and the TERFs to the trans activists, was that fiddling with children is wrong. In fact, I would go further and suggest that we could all agree – to paraphrase a commonly used lefty slogan doing the rounds these days – “it is not enough to not be a pedo, we must be actively anti-pedo.”
Which is why I was horrified to discover that knocking around the fringes of the social network are a fair number of accounts openly discussing wanting to have sex with children. Not only do they openly discuss it, but they want to normalize their perversion. These deviants now call themselves MAPs (Minor Attracted Persons), saying the term “pedophile” is a slur. Yes, it is, but I’m afraid if you want to have sex with children that’s what you are.
These accounts, which often seem to have anime avatars, are trying to rebrand their twisted fantasies as “just another orientation.” They argue that, like straight, gay or bisexual people, they can’t help that they feel the way they do. Some are even pushing to be included in the ever increasing LGBTQIA2+ alphabet soup of sexual orientations and gender identities, and even have their own flag.
Other terms they use to communicate include AOA (Age of Attraction) and some stress that they are “non-offending MAP,” meaning that they apparently don’t act on their urges, but we only have their word for that.
Though most of the accounts refrain from sharing child pornography (at least on Twitter), their many disturbing conversations are free for all to observe. One exchange between two MAP accounts I have had the misfortune of seeing discusses the age of consent, with them finally settling on eight years old, having met in the middle between four and twelve. Others posts found by the Daily Mail include memes saying “gay MAPs are amazing” and “repost if you think MAPs should be able to date minors.”
These conversations aren’t happening in the wild west of the internet. They aren’t on the dark web or 4chan where users can often find themselves a couple of clicks away from ending up on some sort of watch list. They are happening on Twitter.
I would be prepared to forgive Twitter for allowing this sort of thing on their platform, if they had a no holds barred policy toward free speech. If the site had no policy of policing what was said on their platform, save for things that were actually illegal, they could be forgiven for allowing this to carry on, but they don’t.
Just this year comedy writer Graham Linehan has been banned for questioning transgenderism, YouTuber Stefan Molyneux has been banned for “hateful conduct,” and just this week the rapper Wiley was hoofed off the platform for anti-Semitism. If all of these are cause enough to be booted off Twitter, how is openly advocating pedophilia not also on the list of unacceptable behaviors?
True, the accounts may not have millions of followers, but Twitter was very adept at yanking Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) sympathising accounts off the site in 2016, so it must be able to target these accounts? They use their own hashtags for crying out loud, it isn’t difficult to find them.
Most concerning of all, some of the accounts themselves claim to be run by children themselves. Any reading of this situation is appalling, either they are actually children espousing worrying desires openly and leaving themselves at risk of grooming, or they are adults posing as children for their own depraved and nefarious purposes.
Rather than virtue signaling its leftist credentials by censoring the tweets of the president of the United States, Twitter should be looking into the truly dangerous corners of its own platform. Twitter is quick to the point of being trigger happy when it comes to policing the space for transphobia, racism and conspiracy theories. If it can do that for those, then there is no excuse for letting these sick accounts stand. They need to act, and they need to act now.