Two Terrible Lessons From Ted Cruz’s Twitter-Porn Incident

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On Monday evening former presidential candidate Ted Cruz was trending on Twitter for the unpleasant reason that his Twitter account had “liked” a porn video.

For those happily unfamiliar with Twitter, this means that someone with access to Ted Cruz’s Twitter account had hit the “like” button on a full-length hardcore pornographic video, placing it in most of his follower’s newsfeeds the next time they logged in to Twitter.

Now, we need to be clear that we say it was his account and not him because, like any politician, there are a number of people who have access to his Twitter account and would be logged in on their computers or phones.  Unless he actually confessed to hitting the “like” button himself, we will never know fully what happened. And, for the record, he stated that it was a “staffing issue”, meaning somebody who works for him watched and “liked” the video.

But this incident should bring to light two very important lessons.

1) “Good men” watch porn

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that it makes men good when they watch porn, but that many men we would think of as good, watch porn. No matter who was actually watching that pornographic video, we do know it was someone in Cruz’s office. As a highly successful senator and someone who has a reputation for upholding decent morals, we can safely assume that the people Senator Cruz hires are, overall, decent people.

The lesson here is that we need to remember that porn users, be they infrequent, compulsive or completely addicted, are just regular people. Porn users don’t look different or smell different and most of them are living decent good lives on the surface. The insidiousness of pornography is that it grows under the surface of good men and women who are trying to live productive lives and it often doesn’t show itself until it has gutted the user of their identity and love.

The real lesson here, I suppose, is that porn use is not obvious and there are likely people in your life, who you would never suspect, being dragged down by this wretched plague. The moment you think to yourself “well, there is NO WAY that person would watch porn”, you have taken your guard down on behalf of your friends and community.

2) It is really, really, really easy to find or stumble across porn on Twitter.

The second lesson is rather concerning, as well. Consider what happened here.

Some random staffer was watching a video on one of the hundreds of accounts on Twitter that post up to ten-minute long hardcore pornographic videos. Virtually all porn is accessible on Twitter. The most graphic, violent, degrading things you can imagine are all there. So when this staffer, most likely by accident, hit the “like” button on the video, it immediately placed it into the newsfeeds of 3 MILLION followers.

Followers who were not looking for porn and didn’t want to see porn, were suddenly confronted with a hardcore pornographic video simply by opening their apps or computers.

The crazy thing is, we don’t even know if the staffer watched the video. The same scenario could have happened if they logged into Twitter and someone they followed had “liked” the video and the staffer then inadvertently hit the “like” button as they tried to quickly scroll past the video.

The amount of pornography on Twitter and the ease with which it can be shared is why Twitter is a perennial member of the National Center On Sexual Exploitation’s Dirty Dozen list.

This should serve as a reminder that we need to understand the world we are in, how easily accessible pornography is to ourselves and to our children, and how much work there is to do in order to fight back.

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