Twitter pays just £5,000 to tackle images of child abuse online - and is unhappy about being asked to contribute more

Industry-funded charity Internet Watch Foundation is raising the fees paid by members, but have met resistance from the social media giant

As Twitter prepares for an estimated $1.1 billion flotation on the stock market, the company is dragging its feet over raising its contribution to combatting online child abuse and pornography – from just £5,000.

The company is a member of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an organisation backed by Prime Minister David Cameron to work in collaboration with internet service providers to clear up the murky and chaotic world of online abuse.

And while some other tech companies have pledged up to £1 million in support to the industry-funded charity, Twitter insists it shouldn’t have to pay any more than the tiny sum it already does because it isn’t turning a profit.

Twitter’s gigantic value – estimated at somewhere between £7 billion and £13 billion – is based mainly on its potential for future revenues in the mobile market, not on how much it makes at the moment. It recently had to reveal details of its finances ahead of the public offering, which showed it had lost $69.3m (£43m) in the first half of 2013.

The IWF writes in its Funding Model Policy that “members are expected to increase their membership subscription as their businesses develop” – and with growing advertising revenues upwards of $300 million from 2011 to 2012, there is no question Twitter is doing just that.

John Carr, a government adviser on online child safety, told the Sunday Times: “I am absolutely astonished Twitter is paying only £5,000 to the IWF. My industry sources tell me not only did Twitter grumble about the paltry fees the IWF charge but they are also moaning about the new fee structure that is being discussed.”

That new structure would see the contributions from larger web firms like Twitter go up to a standard rate of £75,000, and the Sunday Times reported that the company has asked the IWF to explain how it came up with that figure.

Twitter also argued that if the fees are based on number of users, Facebook – also listed within the £5,000+ membership bracket – should be contributing nearer to £400,000, according to the paper.

The IWF's team of experts tracks down illegal images of child pornography and abuse posted online, and then informs whichever provider controls the platform where they are found, and wants to increase its staff to 16 to tackle a growing workload.

The charity is set to report to the Culture Secretary Maria Miller on Tuesday, and with Mr Cameron warning recently that it is the “moral duty” of internet giants to do their part in combating images of child pornography and abuse, it is unlikely that the Government will back down on the matter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power