Operation Underground Railroad has a long track record of misrepresenting its work; now, it could be partnering with Elon Musk’s Twitter. Among the many ongoing dramas involved in Elon Musk reluctantly buying Twitter and taking over as its main character, one is more acrid than most: Musk’s accusations that Twitter “refused to take action” on removing child sexual exploitation material, or CSEM, before his tenure.  There’s no reason to think this is true, or that Musk is actually focusing on the issue; in a Twitter exchange with Musk, previous CEO Jack Dorsey called the accusation that the company didn’t take CSEM seriously “false,” and Wired recently reported that Musk’s widespread layoffs gutted the team responsible for ferreting out CSEM in the Asia Pacific region, leaving one person doing this work. The main significance of the claim seems to be signaling to the conspiracy theorists and anti-LGBTQ+ activists whom he’s been courting by, among other things, attacking his own one-time employees. (Twitter’s former head of “Trust and Safety,” Yoel Roth, was forced into hiding after Musk baselessly smeared him as being in favor of the sexualization of children.) (…) OUR, which is based in Utah, has presented itself as a crusading anti-sex trafficking organization that engages in daring stings overseas and equips law enforcement with high-tech tools at home. But a series of Motherboard investigations has found that OUR and its head, Tim Ballard, have serially exaggerated their capabilities and effectiveness while fending off prosecutorial inquiries into whether OUR has misused donor funds and itself participated in human trafficking. (…) As Motherboard has reported, OUR and related entities have been under investigation since 2020 by the County Attorney of Davis County, Utah and a constellation of federal agencies. (Two years later, there’s been little outward progress, and it’s unclear what the status of that investigation is. In the past, OUR has told Motherboard that it “has complied with all laws that regulate nonprofits and intends to cooperate fully with any official inquiry, if asked.”) There’s also the matter of QAnon. In 2020, Ballard appeared to give credence to a QAnon-backed conspiracy theory that children were being trafficked through the furniture company Wayfair. OUR states on its website that the organization “does not condone conspiracy theories and is not affiliated with any conspiracy theory group in any way, shape, or form,” but Ballard chose to appear virtually at a fringe conspiracy conference where pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood, an enthusiastic promoter of QAnon-inflected conspiracy theories, enthusiastically promoted QAnon-inflected conspiracy theories.

via vice: Twitter’s New Head of Trust and Safety Offers to Partner with Controversial Anti-Trafficking Group