Twitter's Updated Revenge Porn Policy Aims To 'Better Protect Victims'

The new guidelines include stricter punishments for violators.

Twitter has long been a hub for revenge porn — sexually explicit images or videos of a person that have been shared on the Internet without the consent of the subject — and has been criticized for its lack of action, but now the social media giant is taking new steps to better address the deeply troubling and damaging practice that has impacted millions.

Twitter's new revenge porn policy, introduced last week, is designed to better protect victims. This is achieved, in part, because more media — hidden camera content, images or videos captured in a private setting and not intended for public distribution, etc. — is now prohibited, because accounts known for posting such things will be more rigorously scrutinized, and because the updated rules include harsher penalties for violators.

Recommended

According to a Twitter thread (natch) the enforcement and appeal appeals process for suspended accounts will also look slightly different. "We're working to improve the ways we communicate about our enforcement and appeal decisions," the company explained. "When we deny an appeal for a suspended or temporarily limited account, we will now provide the account owner with a more detailed policy description that explains our reasoning."

Mashable reports these changes were made after Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey held multiple meetings with employees regarding how to better safeguard against revenge porn and other forms of non-consensual nudity.

Dorsey tweeted about the revenge porn policy overhaul on October 27 in an effort to provide "clarity" regarding the new rules and regulations that are now in place.

An additional (and frustrating) point to make note of is that subjects may need to file a report of their own before Twitter can take action against a person who shared the explicit material. "To help prevent our teams from making a mistake and removing consensual intimate media, we may require a report from the actual subject or their authorized representative prior to taking any enforcement action," the guidelines state. "We will reply back to those reports via email and request that the subject provide documentation to verify their identity."

Though this new policy isn't likely to put an end to revenge porn on Twitter all together, it has the ability to prevent people from being negatively impacted by it going forward and that alone stands to make a huge difference. A 2016 report from the Data & Society Research Institute and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research found about four percent of internet users in the U.S. — or about 10 million people — may have been the victims of revenge porn. Although four percent may sound like a small figure, it amounts to around one in 25 people. 

In fact, revenge porn is so pervasive that entire countries are doing their best to put a stop to it. Earlier this month Australia became the first country to address revenge porn on a national level by developing a portal that provides support and reporting tools for victims.

Cover image via Sattalat phukkum / Shutterstock.com.

GET SOME POSITIVITY IN YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.