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Friday, January 21, 2022

Twitter’s new privacy rules will stifle free speech

Twitter has come up with a new privacy policy that is likely to stifle free speech in the name of controlling media sharing content. However, using policy as an excuse, the social media platform simply wants to make sure that mainstream media has

Twitter’s new policy

Twitter has announced to ban sharing of private media, such as photos and videos, without permission from the individuals that are shown in those images.

The micro-blogging platform already covers explicit instances of abusive behavior under its policies, the expansion of the policy will allow the platform to take action on media that is shared without any explicit abusive content, provided it’s posted without the consent of the person depicted.

“Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm,” Twitter said in a blog post late on Tuesday.

“The misuse of private media can affect everyone but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities. When we receive a report that a Tweet contains unauthorized private media, we will now take action in line with our range of enforcement options,” the company informed.

Under the existing policy, publishing other people’s private information, such as phone numbers, addresses, and IDs, is already not allowed on Twitter. This includes threatening to expose private information or incentivizing others to do so.

“There are growing concerns about the misuse of media and information that is not available elsewhere online as a tool to harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals,” Twitter said.

When Twitter is notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to have their private image or video shared, it removes it. 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.

The expansion of the policy came after Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced his resignation, with Indian-origin CTO Parag Agrawal taking over the position. Twitter in September rolled out a feature called Safety Mode that temporarily blocks certain accounts for seven days if they are found insulting users or repeatedly sending hateful remarks.

Twitter policy stifles freedom of speech

Social media has been a platform that empowers the common citizens. More often than not, social media (SM) users have successfully brought to light the misinformation spread by the mainstream media (MSM).

If not for alert SM users, NDTV would have gotten away with its fake news on several occasions such as last October when it tried to peddle a false story regarding a Tanishq store being attacked in Gujarat. Not just NDTV but several MSM media houses have been called out for their false stories. MSM is also known to run stories that fit its agenda rather than sticking with the truth.

By wanting to control the media content that is shared on its platform, the micro-blogging platform wants to stifle the voice of common people.

(With IANS inputs)

(Featured Image Source:)

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