Twitter updates private info policy

Twitter said that while misuse of private media can affect everyone, it can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.   | Photo Credit: AP

Twitter on Tuesday updated its private information policy that will allow the micro-blogging platform to take action on media that is shared without any explicit abusive content, but posted without the consent of the person depicted.

“There are growing concerns about the misuse of media and information that is not available elsewhere online as a tool to harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals. Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm,” the company said in a blog.

It added that while misuse of private media can affect everyone, it can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.

Under the current policy, Twitter users could not share private information or media such as physical location information, identity documents, contact information and financial account information. However, with the update they now cannot share media of private individuals without the permission of the person depicted.

“When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorised representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, we will remove it,” it said.

This policy will not be applicable to media featuring public figures or individuals when media and the accompanying Tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.

“However, if the purpose of the dissemination of private images of public figures or individuals who are part of public conversations is to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence them, we may remove the content in line with our policy against abusive behaviour. Similarly, private nude images of public individuals will continue to be actioned under our non-consensual nudity policy,” Twitter said.

The company added that it recognised that there were 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.

“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. 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,” it said.

“Feeling safe on Twitter is different for everyone, and our teams are constantly working to understand and address these needs. We know our work will never be done, and we will continue to invest in making our product and policies more robust and transparent to continue to earn the trust of the people using our service,” it added.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 4:09:45 AM |

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