Tech

Twitter Takes Steps To Combat Stolen Nudes And Revenge Porn

The company issued new rules that prohibit uploading nonconsensual nudes and says it will lock the accounts of users who have posted them.

Image: Twitter

Twitter is cracking down on the scourge of revenge porn with a series of updated rules in its privacy policy designed to make sure users don’t publish nude photos or post pictures of users engaging in sexual acts without the subject’s consent. The company also issued a new FAQ regarding stolen nudes and revenge porn, based on a series of 12 questions first posed by BuzzFeed News to Reddit.

As of 6 p.m. ET, Twitter has changed its rules to reflect the following (all changes are in italics):

Private information: 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.

The company also modified its abusive behavior policy page to include the following:
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.

Although the company began taking steps to address abuse and harassment late last year, 2015 has been the year Twitter finally started rolling out changes to face those issues head-on.

In February, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told BuzzFeed News it had new product updates in development that will make it “difficult to be an abuser” on its platform. Shortly thereafter, it announced expanded features targeting doxxing and impersonation. BuzzFeed News also reported last month that the company has been surveying its users about abuse and is asking respondents about harassment on Facebook and Instagram in order to learn where the company ranks in the greater social ecosystem. Costolo had previously sent a company-wide memo, obtained by The Verge, saying that the company “sucks” at dealing with abuse.

Twitter is not the only major site to take a proactive stance against revenge porn and stolen nude photos. Last month Reddit changed its privacy policies, notifying users that it would begin the painstaking process of processing and taking down offending content from the site’s more than 9,000 communities. After the announcement, BuzzFeed News posted a series of 12 questions to Reddit asking how the site would implement and execute the new policies. Reddit responded to the majority of the questions.

In today’s announcement, Twitter used BuzzFeed News’ 12 Reddit questions as a guide for its own FAQ. Twitter’s answers to the questions, originally posed to Reddit, can be found below. Reddit’s answers to those questions are found in the original post.

1. Will users have to file DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) requests or can they simply email the Reddit address?

Twitter: No. Our policy is broader that what is potentially protected by copyright. Users can report possible violations through our usual reporting process without relying on the DMCA.

2. Will users need to meet a certain standard of proof — or will requests immediately trigger a takedown?

Twitter: 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.

3. Why not require proven consent for anything posted?

Twitter: N/A

4. How do you verify lack of consent?

Twitter: 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.

5. Will Reddit provide the IP address of the offender’s account to victims and/or law enforcement?

Twitter: As a general matter, Twitter provides private user information only in response to valid legal process, whether provided by individuals or law enforcement. Our guidelines for law enforcement explain what information we have and how authorities can request it.

6. How many staffers will be assigned to monitor the contact@reddit.com email address?

Twitter: Our Trust & Safety team offers 24/7 support across all time zones. As a matter of company policy, we do not disclose exact staffing figures.

7. How many takedowns does the site feel confident it can process daily?

Twitter: We are confident that we will be able to process all reports of violations of this policy in a timely manner.

8. Will takedowns apply to all nude photos or just those that are explicitly designated as revenge porn?

Twitter: We will take action in response to specific images or videos identified as violating our policy.

9. Will only certain subreddits be policed for this content or can it come from any subreddit?

Twitter: N/A

10. What are the penalties for users who violate these new terms?

Twitter: Content that is identified as violating our policy will be hidden from public view and users posting it will have their accounts locked; those users will be required to delete the content in question before being able to return to the platform. Users posting such content with an intent to harass will be subject to suspension from Twitter.

11. Is there any statute of limitations for this policy — are users who posted photos that violate this policy before Feb. 24, 2015 subject to penalties for posting violating content in the years since Reddit’s launch?

Twitter: See above regarding penalties.

12. Will Reddit have any technology once a violating picture has been identified to make sure the picture isn’t reposted?

Twitter: When launched, we will act in response to specific, identified instances of content posted in violation of this policy. As with other safety-related policies, Twitter is continuing to explore product solutions to allow us to act faster and more efficiently to protect our users.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.
Contact Charlie Warzel at charlie.warzel@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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