Twitter expands its policies: bans private media posting without consent

People now cannot post images of people without having their consent

Twitter adds new privacy rulesPeople no longer can post media of private people without their consent

Twitter starts to expand the private information policies, and how includes private media rules that prohibit the sharing of photos and videos without permission from the individual.[1] It started with personal information like names, addresses, phone numbers, and now the company includes multimedia files. The change was announced[2] on the last day of November and noted on the extended changes in private information exposure and security. These are the methods helping prevent abuse, harassment, invasions of privacy. Of course, there are some exclusions when the post is shared in the public interest or adds value to the public disclosure.[3]

The blog post on the Twitter Safety platform stated:

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.

Particular complaints will get evaluated by Twitter support. These can be made by the person involved or someone representing them, according to the private information policy. There are several scenarios where such media would not be removed, f.e public figures, politicians, celebrities, other well-known public people.

The context will also be taken into consideration, as well as nonconsensual sexual imagery. Twitter started the journey towards online and privacy safety, and this is only the start of the needed change.[4]

What changes are implemented now?

Right now the Twitter users cannot share information that is related to other people, including media like videos or pictures. Without the permission given by the person, users cannot publicly disclose information like:

  • home addresses;
  • physical location;
  • GPS coordinates;
  • identity documents;
  • social security and other national identity numbers;
  • contact information;
  • bank account and credit card details;
  • biometric data;
  • medical records;
  • media of private individuals without their permission.

Threatening anyone to publicly expose their private data is prohibited behavior and can be considered a violation of these rules. Sharing details that would allow other individuals to hack persons' devices or gain access to their private information without consent also is a violation. Asking for a bounty or offering any reward for posting or not posting someone's information can be considered blackmail besides violating these privacy safety rules.

Revised policy should help people feel safer online

These changes in policy should discourage people from sharing any information of the people publicly. Malicious actors can use data like sign-in credentials, and banking information, and the prank or harassment grows out of proportion into a major issue of identity theft or financial and losses.[5] Financial compensation in exchange for posting such information about other individuals also is prohibited by these new rules.

Another part of the policy includes the requests made by the people. Users can request the takedowns of media files featuring them with abusive intents without their permission. Such accounts that violate the privacy rules will be prompted to remove the content and can receive the penalty of getting locked out of their accounts temporarily. Users continuously violating such rules can get the permanent suspension of their accounts on Twitter.

Multimedia content that shows public figures or large event participants like sporting events or protests are not considered violating such rules, unless names, dates of birth, or more private information like phone numbers get publicly disclosed too. There are some exclusions because this is the feature needed for the abuse of social media and the safety of personal information.

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.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

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