Twitter bans sharing photos, video of people without their consent

The social media site may allow images if they're newsworthy but says it'll "try to assess the context."

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2 min read

People who want images or video of them removed from Twitter can contact the site.

James Martin/CNET

Twitter on Tuesday banned the sharing of photos and videos of private individuals without their consent, the company said in a blog post. The update to its private information policy notes that people can contact the microblogging platform to have such media removed.

The ban doesn't apply to public figures if the media and tweet are of public interest, but content featuring those people may be removed if the site determines it's been shared "to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence them."

"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," it said.

If the image or video is publicly available, is being covered by news outlets, or "adds value to the public discourse," it may be allowed to remain on the site, Twitter said. In its blog post, the company points out that people might share images of private individuals in a crisis situation to help them, and that could outweigh the safety risks.

The move is an expansion of Twitter's private information policy that the company says is meant to protect people from physical or emotional harm. The policy already bars Twitter users from sharing people's home addresses, government IDs and other sensitive information. Twitter says sharing someone's age or job, or sharing screenshots of text messages doesn't violate its rules. The company also has a separate policy that bars users from posting nude photos of people without their consent.

To report someone for violating this policy, Twitter users can click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the rule-breaking tweet, select Report Tweet, click on "It's abusive or harmful," and select "Includes private information."