Twitter is not going to allow posting individuals’ photos or videos without their consent, the company announced the change on Tuesday.
This move aims at preventing harassment or invasions of privacy and includes exceptions for posts that are “shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”
“Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm,” reads a Twitter Safety blog post announcing the change.“The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”
The app will evaluate complaints by the subject of a picture or video — or someone representing them — according to its private information policy.
Although the rule potentially covers all “media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted,” the blog post mentioned several scenarios where Twitter wouldn’t remove that media.
In this sense, it’s not applicable to people who are public figures, a category that typically includes politicians, celebrities, and other well-known people.
Twitter will also take other contexts into consideration, as well as existing rules like a ban on non-consensual sexual imagery.
“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.
The purpose is to remove pictures or videos that are inflaming online harassment campaigns, although, in practice, its implementation will likely depend on moderators judging the nuance of a particular situation.
On his part, Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy stated that moderators will heavily weigh the circumstances of a given post.
“We’re going to evaluate things in the context in which they’re shared, so I would encourage folks not to draw too many conclusions from past instances or hypotheticals,” Kennedy told The Verge.