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Twitter expands safety policy to ban sharing of private images, videos without consent

The move comes amid growing concerns about the misuse of private media and information as a tool to harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals.

November 30, 2021 / 10:05 PM IST

Twitter is expanding the scope of its private information policy to ban the sharing of images or videos of private individuals without their consent.

The policy already prohibits users from sharing personal information of others like their home address or location, identity documents including government-issued IDs, contact information including non-public phone numbers or email addresses, financial account details, and other private information, such as biometric data or medical records.

"When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, we will remove it," Twitter said in a blogpost.

The social media firm said it has updated this policy amid growing concerns about the misuse of private media and information as a tool to harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals. This policy however doesn't necessarily mean Twitter will require consent from all individuals in a photo or video before it is posted.

"The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities. When we receive a report that a Tweet contains unauthorized private media, we will now take action in line with our range of enforcement options," the company said.

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This policy will not apply for images or videos featuring public figures, although it may remove the content if the purpose is to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence them, as per its abusive behaviour policy. Private nude images of public individuals will continue to be prohibited as per its non-consensual nudity policy.

Twitter noted that the policy will also not apply in instances where the media and accompanying Tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.

"We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service," the company said.

The social media firm said it would consider factors such as whether the image is publicly available and/or is being covered by mainstream or traditional media (newspapers, TV channels, online news sites).

"We recognize that there are instances where account holders may share images or videos of private individuals in an effort to help someone involved in a crisis situation, such as in the aftermath of a violent event, or as part of a newsworthy event due to public interest value, and this might outweigh the safety risks to a person," Twitter said.

While it is not related, the development comes a day after Indian-origin executive Parag Agrawal took over as the CEO of Twitter from co-founder Jack Dorsey who stepped down from the role.
Vikas SN
first published: Nov 30, 2021 10:00 pm
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