What is the first thing any minor attracted person hears online? “Get help!” “Seek therapy!” is usually the most polite thing you hear – if not death threats, calls for genocide, harassment, bullying, and other forms of hate.
On Friday, September 18th, 2020, Twitter suspended MAP Support Club, a support network for minor attracted people:
If minor attracted people are supposed to get help, then why deplatform an account that provides support to minor attracted people and partners with child protection organizations? To understand this question, we must touch on a few things, most importantly…
What Is MAP Support Club?
MAP Support Club is a support chat run by several long-time members of the MAP community, aimed at anyone age 13 and up. In their own words, “MAP Support Club (MSC) is a community for minor attracted people (MAPs) who are fundamentally against child sexual abuse and committed to never harm children.”
What kind of content does MAP Support Club host, and what do people talk about? The occasional television clip, YouTube video, news article, or humor might pepper different sections of the chat, but mostly people write in text form about a wide variety of subjects. There are several private channels for people to discuss trans issues, people who were victimized by sexual violence or other childhood trauma. It is a support chat, and they limit discussions that can interfere with people giving or receiving support.
Their rules to that effect are comprehensive – many minor attracted people have even called them restrictive – and it is a community that uses Microsoft PhotoDNA, a software that scans images uploaded to the server against hash databases maintained by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Many members of MAP Support Club were not pleased with this change, but the administrators felt it was a necessary addition because of the potential for bad actors, trolls, and of course the protection of children.
MAP Support Club partners with Prostasia Foundation, who provides hosting and enabled them to use the PhotoDNA software on the Rocket.Chat platform they call home. Members of MAP Support Club talk about a wide range of issues – anything from how members can seek out competent, qualified therapists that they can feel safe with to news and politics. This support platform has helped many people come to terms with their attractions and find appropriate ways to manage the stigma, anxiety, and depression that minor attracted people often struggle with.
In short, MAP Support Club is a place for minor attracted people to be themselves in a world that hates them. If you want more information on how they run things, check out this webinar:
Conspiracy Theorists Attack
On July 22nd, Twitter announced that they would be specifically targeting Qanon accounts because of the potential to lead to offline harm:
Two weeks of intense harassment followed from these conspiracy theorists with claims that Twitter allowed accounts that supposedly promote the rape of children – when in fact these accounts (Pedophiles About Pedophilia and MAP Support Club) are very clear that they are against harm to children and merely want to raise awareness that there is not enough help available for minor attracted people.
These are not the only such accounts:
To the average person, it may seem wise to suspend the accounts of minor attracted people. Yet not only have experts and members of the media (even Psychology Today) said otherwise, Twitter themselves promise that simply being minor attracted or talking about minor attraction is not enough to violate their policies:
This is not the first time MAP Support Club has faced censorship. In 2018, despite the protestations of many experts, Discord shut down MAP Support Club, forcing them to find a new home on Rocket.Chat.
Twitter Must Cease Its Suspension Campaign
Over the course of the last year, Twitter has suspended the accounts of at least 77 minor attracted people – and those are just the suspensions the community is aware of. We know this because we have taken great efforts to log these suspensions, many of which are listed in a prior article and open letter about the efforts Twitter must take to remove hatred and harassment. These appeals have fallen upon deaf ears, it seems.
If Twitter cares about protecting children, then they must do what is right, not what is popular. It may have been popular to have slaves in the 1600’s, but that does not make it right. It may have been popular to confuse minor attraction with child sexual abuse, yet prominent child protection experts are clear that such confusion makes it harder to prevent sexual abuse.
Twitter must cease suspending minor attracted people and instead do more to combat hate and harassment. Twitter must reinstate accounts it has unfairly and inexplicably suspended.
I am very worried about those developments. That even platforms that became big as free places to express important things and where revolutions began turn into slaves of popularity. It is obvious that such developments will come and go several times until substancial progress will be made but it is nonetheless disheartening and sad.
Keep up the good work guys‘n girls! Maybe there are chances for us to build our own platforms independently from big businesses like twitter.