Social Media

Twitter bans posting images of people without their consent

The United Nations Population Fund is advocating for similar measures when it comes to image privacy.
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Dianna "Mick" McDougall; Getty Images/Bo Zaunders

· less than 3 min read

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If you’re a social media manager, you know there are two types of images you can’t post: someone else’s photo, and a picture of someone else’s child. Despite dozens of workarounds (like getting a parent’s permission to post their adorable kid, for instance), image privacy has always been (pretty much) that simple.

But now, it’s getting a little more complicated.

What happened: Twitter decided to crank its privacy rules up a notch. It’s now cracking down on what can be in your own photos…yeah, the photos you took. Specifically, other people can’t be in them unless they’ve given you permission, and Twitter can remove photos and videos if they violate its new policy. There are some exceptions to the rule (think: public figures), but critics worry it’s still too broad and gives Twitter too much subjective enforcement power, per NPR.

What else happened: In a move similar to Twitter’s, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) this week rolled out a campaign “aimed at ending online abuse by protecting peoples’ images from exploitation,” according to Ad Age. Produced by Edelman, the effort protests the act of posting someone’s image online without their consent.

Why it matters: Both Twitter and the UNFPA say these efforts are intended to protect women and others likely to face digital violence, like marginalized groups or minorities. “According to a study completed by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2020, 85% of women around the world reported witnessing online violence against other women, and 38% of women reported personal experiences of digital abuse,” per Teen Vogue.—PB

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