Los Angeles sheriff's detectives are looking into reports that explicit photos of underage Santa Clarita Valley teenagers were posted on Twitter this week.
"There was a Twitter page created which involves some explicit photographs of what appears to be underage kids," Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Special Victims Bureau said.
The department became aware of the situation Wednesday morning and Twitter has since taken down the accounts, Hudson said. He confirmed that the Twitter handles associated the postings included the term "SCV purge."
It was unclear whether the teenagers had consented to be photographed or to have the images put online, but Hudson warned that if the people pictured were under 18, taking and posting the photos were serious crimes.
"Anytime explicit photos of a minor are distributed or taken, it is considered to be child pornography," he said.
Twitter worked quickly to take down the material and has been "extremely cooperative with the sheriff's department," Hudson said.
He declined to provide further information about the case, saying he did not want to jeopardize the investigation.
Problems with explicit photos of minors have become widespread with the rise in popularity of digital cameras, sexting and social media.
For example, in May 2013, a 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of distributing nude photos of four teenage girls through Twitter.
And about two years ago, as many as four teenage boys who were friends and played on a high school sports team were arrested in the San Fernando Valley for selling digital albums with images of naked juvenile girls.
This month brought an unusual twist to a sexting case in Manassas, Va.: Police sought to photograph, as evidence, the erect penis of a 17-year-old boy who was accused of sending naked pictures of himself to his girlfriend, the boy's lawyer said. After a nationwide furor, the police apparently dropped that plan, but the boy's case is moving forward.