Twitter has today announced that it’s expanding its private information policy to include media. This is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to build tools with privacy and security.

A statement shared on their official Twitter page said, ” Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people’s private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so”

The 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, Twitter may remove the content in line with the new policy.  Similarly, private nude images of public individuals will continue to be actioned under the non-consensual nudity policy.

Why Twitter is beefing privacy?

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

Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy and may lead to emotional or physical harm.

Basically, what happens now is, when you share private information or media on Twitter, you will need a first-person report or a report from an authorized representative in order to make the determination that the image or video has been shared without their permission.

Once Twitter is notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to have their private image or video shared, they will be immediately removed we will remove it.

“We recognize that there are instances where account holders may share images or videos of private individuals in an effort to help someone involved in a crisis situation, such as in the aftermath of a violent event, or as part of a newsworthy event due to public interest value, and this might outweigh the safety risks to a person.”

Prior to removal, Twitter will assess the context in which the content is shared and give considerations as to 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 the public interest, or is relevant to the community.

What is in violation of this policy?
Under the new  private information policy, you can’t share the following types of private information or media, without the permission of the person to who it belongs:

  • home address or physical location information, including street addresses, GPS coordinates or other identifying information related to locations that are considered private;
  • identity documents, including government-issued IDs and social security or other national identity numbers – note: we may make limited exceptions in regions where this information is not considered to be private;
  • contact information, including non-public personal phone numbers or email addresses;
  • financial account information, including bank account and credit card details; and
  • other private information, including biometric data or medical records.
  • Media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted.

The following behaviours are also not permitted in the new policy

  • threatening to publicly expose someone’s private information;
  • sharing information that would enable individuals to hack or gain access to someone’s private information without their consent,e.g., sharing sign-in credentials for online banking services;
  • asking for or offering a bounty or financial reward in exchange for posting someone’s private information;
  • asking for a bounty or financial reward in exchange for not posting someone’s private information, sometimes referred to as blackmail.
  • Feeling safe on Twitter is different for everyone, and our teams are constantly working to understand and address these needs.

Twitter says it will continue to invest in making our product and policies more robust and transparent to continue to earn the trust of the people on the platform.