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Twitter bans nonconsensual and pornographic images and videos

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Twitter has updated its privacy policy to take down non-consensual nude photos as well as non-consensual videos of sexual acts, reports BuzzFeed. Twitter updated its FAQ and addressed privacy policy changes on the microblogging platform based on BuzzFeed News’ questions about Reddit’s recent privacy policy update.

The new rules include:

  • Private information: You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.
  • Threats and abuse: In addition, users may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.

Twitter will not “curate” other pornographic content but will only take down specific images or videos as reported to violate its policies. Pornographic content itself is not banned on Twitter. However, users may not upload pornographic images on their profiles, profile headers or as background images.

In February this year, Twitter announced improvements to its harassment-reporting process which included issues like “impersonation, self-harm and the sharing of private and confidential information”. This move followed Google’s policy changes on its Blogger platform preventing users from publicly uploading “images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity”. Reddit also made changes to its privacy policy to prohibit the posting of nude photos or videos of people (engaging in sexual acts) without their prior consent to post them.

Here’s a concise lowdown on Twitter’s responses to BuzzFeed News’ questions on Reddit:

Q: Will users need to meet a certain standard of proof — or will requests immediately trigger a takedown? How do you verify lack of consent?

Twitter will ask the reporting users to verify that they are the person in question as well as confirm whether the abusive/invasive photo or video was posted without consent. Twitter’s agents will “act on the abusive content” which violates its policies. If the users posting the said content believe that it has been incorrectly identified and reported, they can appeal the decision to agents for review.

Q: What are the penalties for users who violate these new terms?

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Reported content will not be publicly visible. Users who post said content will be locked out of their accounts and need to delete said content before they can return to Twitter. Users posting content “with an intent to harass” will be suspended from the platform.

Q: Will Reddit have any technology once a violating picture has been identified to make sure the picture isn’t reposted?

Other than working on user requests, Twitter will explore solutions for user safety and protection.

Q: Will users have to file DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) requests or can they simply email the Reddit address?

Twitter users need not file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request to report abusive content. It can be done through Twitter’s usual reporting process.

Q: Will Reddit provide the IP address of the offender’s account to victims and/or law enforcement?

Twitter provides private user information to valid legal process, coming from either individuals or law enforcement agencies.

Q: How many staffers will be assigned to monitor the contact@reddit.com email address? How many takedowns does the site feel confident it can process daily?

Twitter did not disclose the number of staffers working in their Trust & Safety team but said that the team offered support 24/7 across all time zones. They also did not mention a timeline or the ETA of the violation takedown process.

The BuzzFeed report mentions that Twitter has been surveying users with respect to abuse and asking the respondents to rate their harassment observations or issues with Facebook and Instagram to get an idea of where it ranks in the bigger picture.

We’d like to point out that between July 1 and December 31, 2014 Twitter did not withhold any tweets from India. In this period, it received one court ordered removal request and 14 removal requests from the police and various other government agencies. It added that it complied with 7% of these requests.

Image Credit: Flickr user Garrett Heath

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