Twitter’s Troublesome New Rule: No Posting Pictures or Videos of People Without Their Consent

Op-Ed by Daniel Bobinski

On November 30, Twitter expanded their “private information” policy. In their announcement, Twitter said:

“Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm. The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”

Wait. “Activists” and “dissidents” might experience disproportional emotional harm if videos appear of them throwing fire bombs? Also notice how neatly Twitter tucked activists and dissidents in between women and members of minority communities. It’s a subtle move, but it seems now we are supposed to put fire-bomb-throwing masked rioters and women in the same disadvantaged basket. My wife steadfastly refuses to ever claim “victim” status, so this is going to bother her. (Not really.)

And pardon the extra snark, but apparently pasty white boys (who aren’t mentioned) are just supposed to suck it up.

Twitter’s new policy in practice

Twitter says when they receive a report of unauthorized private media, they will take action, which includes suspending a person’s account until the offending images or videos are removed.

Let’s consider a scenario to see how this plays out. Let’s say you’re downtown and you see a group of “activists and dissidents” burning down a police station or looting or torching someone’s business.  You whip out your phone and start filming. Being the good citizen journalist that you are, you post the video on Twitter so the evidence is there for all to see.

Except that, per Twitter’s new policy, they don’t want to violate the privacy of those activists and dissidents, nor do they want them to have any emotional harm.  And so, because Twitter is a good, responsible company worried about social justice, they suspend your account until you remove the offending video.

All we need now is for Facebook to follow suit. No more pictures of people at the park with a beautiful sunset behind them. They may been wearing a white belt after Labor Day and suffer emotional harm.

The way I see it, in time, this trend will inhibit people from learning the truth of what’s really going on out there.

It’s a little hyperbolic, but imagine if every daily newspaper in the country had to get permission for every photo they printed? Or if every TV station was required to get signed permission from every person in a video before airing a video?  If that were the case, we would never see 1/100 of what’s really going on out there.

Of course, when it all boils down, I imagine that’s Twitter’s ultimate purpose with their new policy.

For the record, that will never happen at independent media outlets like True Idaho News. If you have images or videos of something newsworthy, send them to We can’t be everywhere, so we value story suggestions from our readers. We can publish your story with your name or publish anonymously (upon story verification). Your choice.


PS. With this latest move, Twitter is no longer a platform, they are officially a publisher. Truth is, they haven’t been a platform for a long time, therefore they should no longer be afforded special status by the U.S. Congress nor the FCC.

So you know, MeWe and Gab are good social media alternatives. It takes a lot to get posts censored on those platforms.


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