Twitter Bans Posting Media Without Permission of Those Featured


Bullying on social media is one of the more prominent topics of our times and it doesn’t seem like anyone really has an elegant solution to some of the bigger issues out there with it.

white ipad on red textile
Photo by Souvik Banerjee

One of those is the use of media featuring individuals who did not consent to be in the video or photo posted and, more often than not, some of this content is of the variety that most people would not want out in the wild.

Whether it is someone throwing a tantrum in public or something else, Twitter is taking a firm but some heavy-handed step in the direction of totally banning any and all media posted without the permission of those featured in it. How this will play out in the real world and, indeed, the broader implications for photography on Twitter remain to be seen but, ostensibly, it is aimed at curbing bullying on the platform though some have highlighted it could have other, negative spillover effects such as for street photography or even politically sensitive subject matter like the coverage of street protests and demonstrations.

From Twitter’s blog post covering the matter:

“When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, we will remove it. This policy is not applicable 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.

However, if the purpose of the dissemination of private images of public figures or individuals who are part of public conversations is to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence them, we may remove the content in line with our policy against abusive behavior. Similarly, private nude images of public individuals will continue to be actioned under our non-consensual nudity policy.”

So, what about politically sensitive events and things like that? Twitter’s stance is basically “trust us” though it’s hard to imagine how that would work out in a practical fashion. Will the company employ teams of people to review every report of content featuring people without their consent?

“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.”

Eh, so maybe all that talk about Twitter being the new go-to platform for photographers was a bit premature? It’ll be interesting to see if Instagram responds with a similar policy in the near future.

Do you think Twitter’s move to ban posts of media featuring people who haven’t given permission for the post is a good thing or not? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter’s latest move to protect privacy in the comments below.

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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