When a third-party safety tool is promoting itself as a Christmas gift
, you know Twitter has problems it urgently needs to fix. But the company might have fumbled the ball on the latest ‘enhancement’ to its safety policy.
What’s new? Well, as TechCrunch explained:
This doesn’t mean that Twitter will require consent from all individuals in a photo or video before its posted. But if a person depicted wants the media taken down, Twitter will take it down.
Twitter was careful to make exceptions, noting in its policy that: “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.”
But still, the move has backfired, receiving a torrent of criticism. Mike Masnick explained the key issue
: sometimes people share media of others doing things that it is clearly in the public interest to share, but that a cautious moderator might remove. This will lead to Twitter helping to make the world a worse place:
The most obvious example of this is one of the biggest stories of 2020: the video taping of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died. In theory, under the broadness of this policy, that video would be taken down off of Twitter…. There are plenty of other examples where people are filmed in public, without their permission, but it’s done to reveal important things that have happened in the world.
Casey Newton sees the policy as taking inspiration
from the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ rule, most commonly associated with individuals being able to get information about themselves removed from Google search result pages in certain cases, so it’s not like this new policy is without precedent. And Twitter has clarified
just how cautious it intends to be in applying it.
But it’s hard to see how Twitter won’t make some bad judgement calls along the way. Indeed, it seems it already is
. This particular safety move needs an urgent rethink.