Twitter’s Trying to Fix Its Revenge-Porn Problem

By
Photo: dm909/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Twitter updated its rules, introducing a ban on posting explicit photos without the subject’s consent. Twitter already prohibits users from posting excessively violent or pornographic images, but the new rules incorporate language about consent. The Abusive Behavior Policy now forbids "intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent."

Twitter’s Trust and Safety team will be available 24/7 to field complaints. Users who report tweets under the new guidelines will have to verify their identity and confirm that they’re the subject of the photo or video; if that’s confirmed, the offending tweet will be hidden and the user who posted it will be prevented from tweeting until they delete the abusive tweet.

Both Reddit and Google’s Blogger have recently cracked down on revenge porn. Twitter’s change comes after two emails from CEO Dick Costolo were leaked in February. On Twitter forums, one employee pressed the company to do more after reading Lindy West’s essay on being cyberbullied via Twitter. “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years,” Costolo acknowledged in a memo to staff. He took full responsibility for Twitter’s failure to deal with trolls, writing, “I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. There's no excuse for it.”