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Twitter Updated It’s Privacy Policy That Will Allow You To Remove Images Of People Without Consent

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Twitter tweeted an update to its rules changing what users can and can’t share on the site.

Starting now, if you share an image or video of someone without their consent, the company can take it down — unless it’s in the public interest to leave it up. Speculation ran wild. Is it okay to share images of crowds at sporting events, people asked in replies to the announcement? What about videos of abusive behaviour? And what exactly falls within the public interest?

The policy update, which detractors from both sides of the political aisle are calling vague and potentially discriminatory, comes during a tumultuous week for the social network. Twitter chief Jack Dorsey stepped down this week after years of decreasing involvement in the company’s day-to-day operations, according to insiders. New CEO Parag Agrawal will lead the company as it tests new products and policies.

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Why are some people angry?

Historically, Twitter’s attempts to moderate what happens on its site have been met with pushback such as when the company banned President Donald Trump for his alleged role in inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol in January, while others claim the company doesn’t do enough to protect vulnerable people, including women, minorities and activists, from harassment.

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The latest expansion of Twitter’s private information policy — which prohibits posting private information such as phone numbers and addresses without permission — made some people angry. But mostly it just made everyone confused.

How will the policy be used?

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Zoey Sterling, a sex worker in Miami who uses a pseudonym to protect her identity, was left with questions after reading Twitter’s blog post and multiple follow-up explanations. Twitter could use the policy to take down videos of police brutality, as officers presumably would not consent to have their images shared, she said.

She worried that people who draw attention to abuse or injustice would find themselves in trouble for posting images without consent, as well. And can sex workers and other vulnerable people report images of themselves without having to reveal their legal names?

“This policy is not very clear. We don’t know what is okay and what isn’t okay,” Sterling said. “This is clearly a test run that they’re doing, but it’s not a test run that they really thought out.”

Other replies said Twitter would apply the policy unequally to silence conservative media coverage of protests and property damage. Several pointed out that the FBI tweeted photos of participants in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot without their consent, and they called for those photos to be taken down.

The new policy was designed primarily with markets outside the United States in mind, according to Twitter spokesman Trenton Kennedy. He cited a few examples of content that would be deletable under the policy expansion, such as images of rape victims or, hypothetically, images of women in Afghanistan who face offline harm for going outside without a burqa.

What happens to people who violate the policy?

Depending on the severity of the violation and the number of times they’ve broken the rules, Twitter could do anything from removing the offending tweet to permanently suspending the account. Kennedy said the goal is always for the consequence to fit the severity of the infraction and that anyone who feels they were wrongly punished can appeal the decision.

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Vanessa Waithera
Vanessa Waithera
Vanessa Waithera is a young writer from Daystar University. She has been a writer for 7 years and enjoys it as a hobby and passion. During her free time she enjoys nature walks, discoveries ,reading and takes pleasure in new challenges and experiences. Contact: [email protected]

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