Shortly after the surprise resignation of Jack Dorsey as CEO of Twitter, the social media company made an announcement expanding its private information policy. From now on, the platform will not allow sharing media of private individuals without consent. This extends to images and videos.
The reasoning for this, as Twitter itself explains, is that the sharing of private photos or videos “may lead to emotional or physical harm”, as well as violate said person’s privacy. And these “can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities”.
Exceptions to the rule include private media of public figures, and media that depicts people participating in public events. Also included in this list is if the image is publicly available, or is generally newsworthy.
Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people's private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so.https://t.co/7EXvXdwegG
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021
Enforcement also only starts with a first-person report, so a person whose photo or video is shared will have to report it to Twitter first. The company will then consider the context of the media before taking action.
On one hand, many would argue – as you can see in the replies to the tweet, that this will lead to censorship. Certainly, there’s a broadness to it that makes it very likely. Twitter does say that context matters, but there’s the worry that this makes the social media platform the “arbiter of truth”, to use a popular phrase being thrown around.