Twitter recently announcement that it will no longer allow “the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of individuals without their consent”. The movement takes effect through an extension social media platform private information and media policy.
Concretely, this means that the photos and videos can be deleted if the photographer has not obtained the consent of the people captured before sharing the item on Twitter. Individuals who find their shared image online without consent can report message, and Twitter will then decide whether to delete it.
According to Twitter, the change comes in response to “growing concerns about the misuse of media and information that is not available elsewhere online as a tool to harass, intimidate and reveal the identity of individuals.”
While this decision signals a move towards greater protection of individual privacy, questions arise regarding implementation and enforcement.
Unlike some European countries – France, for example, has a strong culture of privacy around image rights under article 9 of the French civil code – the United Kingdom does not have such a strong tradition image rights.
This means that there is little that an individual can do to prevent an image of themselves from circulating freely online, unless it is considered to fall under limited legal protection. For example, in relevant circumstances, a person may be protected under section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, which deals with image-based sexual abuse. Legal protection may also be available if the image is found to be infringing Copyright Where data protection provisions.
On the one hand, the freedom to photograph is fiercely defended, largely by the media and photographers. On the other hand, private, unwanted, or demeaning photographs can cause significant upheaval and distress, with a conflict of rights between the photographer (the legal owner of the photograph) and the photographed (often not claiming to be the image). ).
For my PhD, I interviewed 189 adults living in England and Wales about their experiences with images shared online, including through social media. My finds have been published earlier this year.
While some attendees were not disturbed or even delighted to come across pictures of themselves shared online, for others, finding pictures they did not agree to post made it difficult for them to find. comfortable. As one participant put it:
Fortunately, I didn’t look too bad and I wasn’t doing anything stupid, but I would rather control the images of myself appearing in public.
I was quite angry that I shared my image on social media without my permission.
A slim majority of respondents are in favor of increasing the legal protection of individual rights, which means that their image cannot be used without consent (55% agree, 27% were unsure and 18% disagreed). Meanwhile, 75% of those surveyed felt that social media sites should play a bigger role in protecting privacy.
I found that people weren’t necessarily looking for legal protection in this regard. Many were simply looking for some sort of avenue, as the norm for photographs posted to social media without permission to be removed at the request of the person photographed.
Twitter’s policy change represents a pragmatic solution, giving individuals greater control over how their image is used. This can be useful, especially from a security point of view, to Twitter groups identified, which include women, activists, dissidents and members of minority communities. For example, an image that reveals the location of a woman who has escaped domestic violence could put that person in significant danger if the image is seen by her abuser.
It can also be useful for children subject to “share”- having images shared online by their parents at every stage of their growth. In theory, these children can now bring back these images once they are old enough to understand how. Alternatively, they can ask a representative to do it for them.
The change naturally caused some consternation, especially among the photographers. Civil Liberties Group Big Brother Watch at criticized politics for being “too broad”, arguing that this will lead to online censorship.
It is important to note that this is not a blanket ban on images of individuals. Twitter has posted images or videos that show people participating in public events (such as large demonstrations or sporting events) in general would not violate politics.
They also draw attention to a number of exceptions, including when the image is newsworthy, in the public interest or when the subject is a public figure. But how the public interest will be interpreted would benefit from being clearer. Likewise, it is not entirely clear how this policy will apply to the media.
There were already some start-up issues within a week of the policy’s launch. Coordinated reports from extremist groups regarding photos of themselves at hate rallies have reportedly resulted in the creation of numerous Twitter accounts owned by anti-extremist researchers and journalists. suspended by mistake. Twitter said he has correct the errors and launched an internal review.
There are also concerns that minority groups may be harmed by politics if they find it difficult to share images highlighting abuse or injustice, such as police brutality. Although Twitter said such events would be exempt from the rule due to be worthy of interest, how this will be applied is not yet clear.
There are certainly issues to be resolved. But ultimately, this policy change has the potential to protect individual privacy and facilitate a more thoughtful approach to image sharing.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)