Twitter will now allow individuals to request the removal of photos or videos featuring them. The company announced the change this morning, extending the existing ban on private information to the media. It aims to prevent harassment or invasion of privacy and includes exceptions for posts that are “shared in the public interest or that add value to public discourse”.
“Sharing personal media, such as pictures or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy and can result in emotional or physical damage,” the statement read. Twitter security blog post announcing the change. “The misuse of private media can affect anyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents and members of minority communities. Twitter will rate complaints by the subject of a photo or video – or by someone representing them – depending on their greatest private information policy.
The rule potentially covers all “media from individuals without the permission of the person (s) represented,” but the blog post describes several scenarios in which Twitter would not remove that media. As implied, this does not apply to people who are public figures, a category that usually includes politicians, celebrities, and other well-known people. Twitter will also take into consideration other contexts, as well as existing rules such as the ban on non-consensual sexual images.
“We recognize that there are instances where account holders may share images or videos of individuals for the purpose of assisting someone involved in a crisis situation, such as following a violent event, or in part of a newsworthy event because of the value of interest, and this could outweigh the risks to a person’s safety, ”the post said. It can also leave media online if they are covered by traditional media. And it will examine “whether a particular image and the accompanying text of the tweet add value to public discourse, are shared in the public interest, or are relevant to the community.”
As of today, we will not allow sharing of private media, such as pictures or videos of individuals without their consent. Publishing people’s private information is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or inciting others to do so.
– Twitter Security (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021
The aim is to remove the images or videos that fuel online harassment campaigns, although in practice its implementation will likely depend on the moderators judging the nuance of a particular situation. It’s unclear, for example, how Twitter could have ruled on a 2020 Twitter video of a white woman calling police on a black man – an incident that was widely reported in mainstream media but only as a result of a viral Twitter video that featured two private figures but echoes a larger existing conversation about racism and the police.
The change comes a day after a high-profile Twitter reshuffle, as longtime CEO Jack Dorsey was replaced by former CTO Parag Agrawal.