Twitter has finally taken a hard stance against revenge porn, which consists of non-consensual sharing of intimate videos and photos. According to the terms of Twitter use, this is a direct violation. This change, which has been needed for some time, sends a strong signal that Twitter is working to rid its social media site of trolls and bad actors.
Until the change took place this morning, people were allowed to post nude photos and videos of unwilling individuals. However, the new rules are clear and defined to protect virtually millions of vulnerable people.
To Twitter’s existing rules about not publishing other people’s confidential and private information to include home addresses, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and so on without express permission, there is a new clause that reads “You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent”.
While making this change is great news, the big question now is how it will be enforced. Although posting nude photos and videos without a person’s consent is prohibited and there will be consequences for any violations, reporting is a burden that falls back on the victim. The challenge is that many victims are too embarrassed to come forward.
Currently, Twitter has a full team working around the clock to deal with user complaints and determine who violators are so accounts can be suspended, this in response to a list of questions posted on Buzzfeed.
While many people are applauding the network’s efforts, most believe long-term the efforts will be ineffective. One problem is that a victim must first have knowledge that an offensive photo or video is posted. That individual will then need to contact Twitter to have it taken down and then wait for a long period to receive a determination.
While this is taking place, the troll has the opportunity to establish more accounts where the same offensive photo or video being investigated is posted. Again, the victim will need to have knowledge that the photo or video is again posted but under a different name. From there, the same process of reporting will start over again.
Although for some it is hard to imagine that a troll would go to such great links to demean another human being, in the past year it has become quite obvious that some people will do whatever it takes to bring someone down. Even with the new Twitter ruling, target people will get little relief, if any.
Anti-revenge pornography policies were also adopted recently by Reddit although to date, nothing has changed to forum practices. A prime example is the CandidFashionPolice forum. While the focus is not on nudity, this is definitely sexualized and more disturbing, it is not consensual.
Experts agree the best way to create a safer environment is for Twitter to outlaw revenge porn altogether. While Twitter has made efforts of streamlining abuse and harassment reporting and it promises to take even more action in the future, the measures are strictly reactive while placing tremendous burden on victims.