People who are not public figures can now ask Twitter to take down their photos and videos if posted without their consent. The tech giant has announced new guidelines on Tuesday that prohibit users from posting private photographs of others without their knowledge, a tightening of the network’s policy only one day after changing CEOs.
Its goal is to avoid harassment and breaches of privacy, with exceptions for posts “shared in the public interest or adding value to public discourse.”
Users will have to file a first-person report or one from an “authorized representative” to ensure that the photo or video was uploaded without authorization, according to the company’s blog post. Twitter will delete the media if the individual in the tweet complains about it, claiming their lack of consent, the company said in a blog post.
“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 further added.
For years, the right of Internet users to file complaints with platforms when photographs or data about them are shared by third parties, particularly for malevolent intentions, has been a point of contention. Twitter currently prohibits the broadcast of private information like a person’s phone number or address, but the company said there are “growing concerns” about the use of content to “harass, intimidate, and reveal the identity of individuals.”
“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 post says. It may also leave media online if it’s being covered by traditional news outlets. And it will consider “if a particular image and the accompanying tweet text adds value to the public discourse, is being shared in the public interest, or is relevant to the community.”
Some Twitter users pressed the firm to explain how the new policy would function in practice.