What Does Twitter’s New ‘Private Media’ Policy Mean?
It's been a week of changes for Twitter as the company announced a new CEO and updated its "private information" policy to include privacy considerations for different sorts of media, including still images and video footage.
On Monday (Nov. 29), Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he was stepping down from the position and named Parag Agrawal, the company's former chief technology officer, as his replacement, according to CNN.
A day after the lineup change, the tech company made an update to its "private information" policy, which was announced on Twitter's official blog.
"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 announcement read. "The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities. When we receive a report that a Tweet contains unauthorized private media, we will now take action in line with our range of enforcement options."
The previously existing policy allowed Twitter to step in if media being shared was deemed explicitly abusive. Now the company will be able to act based on consent. That means that if someone does not consent to having their private media shared, then it will be taken down regardless of if it is abusive or not.
Complaints must be filed by the individual involved or by an authorized representative and can be placed here.
Twitter's new "private media" policy goes into effect globally today (Nov. 30).
The policy also includes any media that is the property of private individuals with few caveats.
The tech company says it will consider if certain media is shared in a way that adds "value to public discourse" or speaks to "public interest."
They also addressed situations in which sharing private media such as photos after a crisis situation would be considered if publishing the media outweighs "the safety risks to a person."
There are also considerations that must be met when dealing with public figures such as celebrities. For instance, leaked celebrity nudes will be removed under a previously existing policy, while other footage has a bit more leniency.
Many have taken to Twitter to raise questions about the specifics of the policy. For instance, MarketWatch noted that users were concerned about people filing complaints if they appear in the background of photos.
Other users were unsure of how footage from protests, events such as the January 6 attack on the Capitol and violent footage such as the police interaction with George Floyd would be addressed. There are also concerns about how this would impact local news coverage.
Hopefully Twitter will be able to address these concerns and add additional clarity in the coming days.