Twitter Takes on Revenge Porn and Other Content Posted without Consent

Josh WolfordSocial Media

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Twitter has taken another step in protecting its users from harassment, this time targeting explicit content posted without consent or so-called "revenge porn."

Twitter made a couple of important changes to its terms of service. First, the Twitter Rules section of Private Information now reads like this (new parts italicized):

You may not publish or post other people's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission. You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent.

Twitter also made an update to its explainer on threats and abuse:

Users may not make direct, specific threats of violence against others, including threats against a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, or disability. In addition, users may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.

So, how will Twitter enforce this?

Like most instances of abuse and harassment, Twitter will rely on user reporting. Once a person files a complaint about some sort of non-consented content appearing on the network, Twitter will review said content and make a determination.

"We will ask a reporting user to verify that he or she is the individual in question in content alleged to be violating our policy and to confirm that the photo or video in question was posted without consent. Agents will then act on content posted in violation of the policy. Users who believe that content they post has been incorrectly identified is violating the policy can appeal the decision and agents will review that request as well," Twitter told BuzzFeed.

"As part of their reports, users will be asked to confirm that the photos or videos in question were posted without consent. Agents will review complaints to confirm that the content at issue violates our policy. Photos or video that do not appear to violate the policy — such as content that an individual has previously indicated was made publicly available with permission — will not be actioned."

Twitter says it's "confident" it'll be able to handle all the reports "in a timely manner." If content is deemed in violation of Twitter policy, it'll be hidden from public view and the offending account will be locked until it's deleted. If Twitter thinks something more sinister is going on – like an ongoing attempt to harass – then it'll suspend the account in question.

Users have been complaining for some time about the amount of abuse that takes place on the site, as well as Twitter's seemingly unenthusiastic methods of dealing with it. CEO Dick Costolo admitted Twitter "sucked" at dealing with abuse, and vowed to make the service better. Twitter recently tripled the size of the team that handles abuse reports, and instituted some additional safeguards, for instance using phone numbers to track users who've been suspended for abusive behavior. Twitter may now ask for users to verify their phone number in order to reinstate their suspended account.

Image via Rosaura Ochoa, Flickr Creative Commons

Josh Wolford

Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer.

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