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Twitter bans sharing of images and videos without consent

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

Twitter has updated its private information policy to ban the sharing of images or videos of private individuals without their consent. The move came a day after Parag Agrawal replaced co-founder Jack Dorsey. ​​

In a blog post, Twitter said, “While our existing policies and Twitter Rules cover explicit instances of abusive behaviour, this update will allow us to take action on media that is shared without any explicit abusive content, provided it’s posted without the consent of the person depicted. This is a part of our ongoing work to align our safety policies with human rights standards, and it will be enforced globally starting today.”

Twitter explained the reason behind updating the private information policy. It said, “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 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 unauthorised private media, we will now take action in line with our range of enforcement options.

​​What is in violation of the private information policy?

One can’t share the following types of private information or media, without the permission of the person to whom it belongs:

  • Home address or physical location information, including street addresses, GPS coordinates or other identifying information related to locations that are considered private;
  • Identity documents, including government-issued IDs and social security or other national identity numbers – note: we may make limited exceptions in regions where this information is not considered to be private;
  • Contact information, including non-public personal phone numbers or email addresses;
  • Financial account information, including bank account and credit card details; and
  • Other private information, including biometric data or medical records.
  • Introduced new: Media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted.

The following behaviours are also not permitted:

  • Threatening to publicly expose someone’s private information;
  • Sharing information that would enable individuals to hack or gain access to someone’s private information without their consent, e.g., sharing sign-in credentials for online banking services;
  • Asking for or offering a bounty or financial reward in exchange for posting someone’s private information;
  • Asking for a bounty or financial reward in exchange for not posting someone’s private information, sometimes referred to as blackmail.

The context will be considered if a post is reported. When Twitter is notified that the user did not consent to have his/her private image or video shared, it will remove it.

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.

However, Twitter noted, “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.”


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