Twitter to ban sharing of photos and videos without people's consent

Twitter has expanded its private information policy to include private media, such as photos and videos.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Twitter has announced the expansion of its private information policy to include the sharing of private media, such as photos and videos, without permission from the individuals that are depicted in them, as the social media platform aims to improve user privacy and security.

"Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person's privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm," Twitter shared on a blog post.

"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."

Under its existing policy, publishing other people's private information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and IDs, or threatening to expose a person's private information and incentivising others to do so is already not allowed on Twitter.

The company took the opportunity to also outline the actions it would take when it is notified by individuals that they did not give permission to have their private image or video shared.

"We will remove it," the company wrote.

It noted, however, the policy would not apply to media featuring "public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse".

The company added that in instances where account holders share media of individuals to help someone in a crisis situation, it would "try" to assess the context in which the content is shared.

"In such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service," Twitter said.

"For instance, we would take into consideration whether the image is publicly available and/or is being covered by mainstream/traditional media (newspapers, TV channels, online news sites), or if a particular image and the accompanying tweet text adds value to the public discourse, is being shared in public interest, or is relevant to the community."

The expansion of the policy comes a day after Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced his resignation, telling employees in a letter that CTO Parag Agrawal would be taking over the position. 

Twitter has been rolling out a slew of features in a bid to mitigate harmful content on its platform. In September, it rolled out a feature called Safety Mode that temporarily blocks certain accounts for seven days if they are found insulting users or repeatedly sending hateful remarks.

Prior to that, Twitter said it was conducting a test that would allow users in the United States, South Korea, and Australia to report misleading tweets.

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