On November 30, Tuesday, Twitter announced it is expanding its private information policy to include media. The policy states that images and videos of private individuals are not allowed to be published without the person’s consent.
Of course, sharing people’s private information on Twitter is already prohibited, but now this rule goes even further. The social media giant says it is taking this action to reduce the misuse of media for harassment and intimidation.
In case you are wondering—no, you won’t have to get each person’s consent before you share a photo or video of them online. “A first-person report of the photo/video in question (or from an authorized representative)” is required for Twitter to take any action. In other words, the photo or video has to be reported by said person in some way for Twitter to take action.
It is important to mention that Twitter has laid out some exceptions in its new policy. That includes different factors relating to context, such as media featuring public figures or individuals and in cases where the image is publicly available and/or being covered by journalists.
Sharing images is an important part of folks’ experience on Twitter. People should have a choice in determining whether or not a photo is shared publicly. To that end we are expanding the scope of our Private Information Policy.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021
Another more vague exception mentioned is “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.”
While it seems as if Twitter has thought this through thoroughly, some parts—like the last one mentioned above—sound a bit too loose and subjective. Besides that, many have shared their opinion on this new policy as a whole to be extremely hard to achieve, almost naive.
Now, this is not exactly something new for a social media platform or Twitter for that matter. The policy has already been in motion within the European Union where protection of such private information is demanded by the law.
A spokesperson for Twitter says that this new policy will help bring much-needed privacy rights to places where they are yet to be made obligatory by the government. That way, anyone would be able to protect themselves against harassment on the platform.