Twitter bans sharing of photos without consent

New Twitch tool helps battle ban evaders

By: AFP      Published: 11:06 AM, 1 Dec, 2021
Twitter bans sharing of photos without consent
Representational image.

Twitter launched new rules Tuesday blocking users from sharing private images of other people without their consent, in a tightening of the network's policy just a day after it changed CEOs.

Under the new rules, people who are not public figures can ask Twitter to take down pictures or video of them that they report were posted without permission.  

Twitter said this policy does not apply to "public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse."

"We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service," the company added.

The right of internet users to appeal to platforms when images or data about them are posted by third parties, especially for malicious purposes, has been debated for years.

Twitter already prohibited the publication of private information such as a person's phone number or address, but there are "growing concerns" about the use of content to "harass, intimidate and reveal the identities of individuals," Twitter said.

The company noted a "disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities."

High-profile examples of online harassment include the barrages of racist, sexist and homophobic abuse on Twitch, the world's biggest video game streaming site.  

But instances of harassment abound, and victims must often wage lengthy fights to see hurtful, insulting or illegally produced images of themselves removed from the online platforms.

Some Twitter users pushed the company to clarify exactly how the tightened policy would work.

"Does this mean that if I take a picture of, say, a concert in Central Park, I need the permission of everyone in it? We diminish the sense of the public to the detriment of the public," tweeted Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York.

The change came the day after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced he was leaving the company, and handed CEO duties to company executive Parag Agrawal.

The platform, like other social media networks, has struggled against bullying, misinformation and hate-fuelled content.

New Twitch tool helps battle ban evaders

Gaming platform Twitch on Tuesday introduced a tool that detects and blocks users who evade bans, a longstanding problem for victims of harassment.

The leader in live videogame streaming has struggled for months to stem a wave of racist and homophobic harassment, which includes so-called "hate raids" against certain content creators.

Stalkers have been known to enter chat rooms and flood the moderators or others with insults or offensive images.

While the creators or mods can ban such users, some still find ways back in, often by creating new anonymous accounts.

The new tool was created "to help you identify those users based on a number of account signals... so you can take action as needed," Twitch said in a statement.

The tool uses machine learning software, a form of artificial intelligence, that the company says analyzes accounts and flags suspicious ones as either "likely" or "possible" fraudsters to moderators.

"No machine learning will ever be 100 percent accurate," Twitch said. "That's why Suspicious User Detection doesn't automatically ban all possible or likely evaders."

Twitch claims to host more than 30 million users per day. The platform is owned by tech giant Amazon, which dominates the global cloud-computing industry. 

In August, gamers united to urge the company to respond to the hate raids as concern mounted that Twitch was failing to ward off hackers and abusers.

Twitch has filed a complaint against two users in Europe who it says manage multiple accounts under different identities and have generated thousands of automated bots in a matter of minutes to harass their victims.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.