Twitter updates private information policy; bans sharing photos and videos without consent

Twitter has updated its private information policy to disallow users from sharing photos and videos of private people without their permission.

As per Twitter’s existing policy, users are already barred from publishing other people’s private information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and IDs.

The move comes as 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 private information includes a home address or physical location information, identity documents, contact information, financial account information, and other information, including biometric data or medical records.

“The misuse of private media can affect everyone but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities,” says Twitter.

From now, Twitter will take action when anyone reports a violation of the policy.

“When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to have their private image or video shared, we will remove it,” adds Twitter.

The company also said the new policy does not apply to media featuring public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.

The company also acknowledged instances where account holders may share images or videos of private individuals in an effort to help someone involved in a crisis situation.

In a statement, Twitter said:

We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service. For instance, we would take into consideration whether the image is publicly available and/or is being covered by mainstream/traditional media [newspapers, TV channels, online news sites], or if a particular image and the accompanying tweet text adds value to the public discourse, is being shared in public interest, or is relevant to the community.