Twitter updates privacy policy to ban unauthorized images and videos of people

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Twitter has announced an important change to its privacy policy so that the sharing of images and videos of people without consent is now forbidden.

In many ways this is simply a tightening up of existing privacy protections and anti-doxxing policies, giving individuals a route to having media depicting them removed from the platform. The new policy does not apply to everyone, however.

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The policy change means that posting "media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted" is now a violation of Twitter's rules.

Announcing the policy update, the company says: "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 goes on to point out that there are exceptions:

This policy is not applicable 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 social media platform then goes into further detail about permitted reasons for sharing media of individuals without their consent:

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 behavior. Similarly, private nude images of public individuals will continue to be actioned under our non-consensual nudity policy.

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.

The company concludes: "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".

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