Twitter have announced that images of “private media-” images of private individuals without permission of the subject- will be banned.
As stated on Twitter’s blog, the social media giant’s existing private information policy is being updated to include “private media.” This comes one day after former CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down, with former CTO Parag Agrawal replacing him.
“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,” the blog post explains. “The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”
In short, the new rule states “media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted.” However, the blog post does note “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, 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,” the blog states, “we may remove the content in line with our policy against abusive behavior.” Private nude images of public individuals will also be treated under Twitter’s non-consensual nudity policy (i.e., not permitted).
Twitter also states they recognize there may be instances sharing such images to help someone in a crisis, after a “violent event,” or “a newsworthy event due to public interest value;” outweighs the risks to that person.
Twitter explains they “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.” This includes considering if the image is publicly available, covered by mainstream or traditional media, or if the image and tweet “adds value to the public discourse, is being shared in public interest, or is relevant to the community.”
“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.”
Nonetheless, many are already skeptical of how Twitter aims to enforce it, and the ambiguous phrasing. Some fear this will be used to censor exposure of illegal or immoral acts. The concerns also seem to be a bipartisan issue. You can find a selection of some users’ concerns below.
lemme say something
this is gonna hit police videos like hell which means more ppl are gonna get away with harming minorities https://t.co/Znwt49UFbM
— shamhat ⚢ (@bifauxen) November 30, 2021
🤔…. Looks like Twitter attempting to stop any information sharing, research, discoveries and facts of events, that are against their political interests. https://t.co/DaqVKEaLVS
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) November 30, 2021
This is an unworkable policy. Obviously.
Of course, it is beautifully constructed to allow Twitter to protect its friends and punish/hobble others with *selective enforcement* all while pretending to be impartial and interested only in the "safety" of the community. https://t.co/lWNoc5Mpu5
— Bret Weinstein (@BretWeinstein) November 30, 2021
This is why choosing a career engineer as CEO was the wrong move. None of the big problems that Twitter faces in the next 5 years are tech ones. They are socio-political, require principles and forethought as to how policy applies in controversial use cases https://t.co/aG4izhSFlH
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) November 30, 2021
This is going to be abused so badly. https://t.co/oRWvPa4akW
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) November 30, 2021
This sounds like another way to selectively get rid of people with and suspend conservative. https://t.co/7n6FrqAw4u
— 🦆𝕮𝖔𝖔𝖓𝕯𝖆𝖜𝖌 🦆 (@timfisher836) November 30, 2021
Cute. Do explain how that's going to work for sharing investigative reports, media commentary, even RTs. Do tell us how you're going to police a gazillion images or videos that may, in fact, be public domain? https://t.co/Dw2aMa2CV9
— Jeff Pearce (@jeffpropulsion) November 30, 2021
Twitter gives a huge middle finger to journalism by allowing ppl to get damning images and videos of themselves removed from other people's posts. https://t.co/K8BUC0notS
— Morgan Artyukhina (@LavenderNRed) November 30, 2021
What about memes? With this policy you kill like 95% of the site right there.
Crowds? Fuck that too I guess. https://t.co/1YqVWfVCSC
— Mutahar (@OrdinaryGamers) November 30, 2021
Under Twitter new ‘private media’ regulations we wouldn’t have been allowed to post screenshots of Darrel Brooks’ Facebook posts
— Jack Posobiec ✝️ (@JackPosobiec) November 30, 2021
Took a nice picture of the Eiffel Tower. But you see other tourists in it, can't upload it.
Here is a video of a guy who broke into my car. But he is a private individual can't upload it.
Here is a funny meme, but shit I never asked the guy if I could post it so can't upload it pic.twitter.com/11sWVUkqji
— A Large Naked Scottish Man🏴߷ (@CountDankulaTV) November 30, 2021
This app is about to suck dick. No more filming protest, riots, cops, etc. I'm about done with it. https://t.co/NLEktAJBzD
— Sugartits🍄 (inmate 0420) (@Sugar_tits_420) November 30, 2021
Why do I feel like this isn’t going to apply to chasing random old ladies around in the park and calling them racist to virally shame them – but will definitely apply to critical news stories. https://t.co/LYlWZtwpFt
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) November 30, 2021
— James (@MKUltraMoney) November 29, 2021
— Matt Orfalea (@0rf) November 30, 2021
Others are also concerned about the motives of new CEO Agrawal. In 2010 he tweeted “If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.”
However, the tweeted featured quotation, so Agrawal may have been quoting someone else. The exact context is not clear, and other tweets from that time do not seem to mention a larger discussion on religion or race.
Likewise, faith in Twitter as a whole is at an all time low. Most big tech platforms are continuing to be accused of censoring pro-conservative users and content. Twitter and Facebook both censored the New York Post’s “smoking gun” report. Therein they allegedly exposed Hunter Biden using US President Joe Biden’s influence (as then Vice-President) in Ukraine for Burisma Holdings’ gain.
In recent news, YouTube announced they were making all Dislikes on a videos private to prevent harassment. Users scrutinized the move, claiming it would be used to protect controversial adverts, politicians, and even YouTube themselves. Multiple third party browser extensions have sprung up to bring Dislikes back to users.
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