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Twitter Bans Revenge Porn, Doxxing To Protect Users From Abuse

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Twitter has updated its rules to expressly prohibit jilted lovers from posting intimate and explicit images and videos of other people without their consent, otherwise known as revenge porn, in addition to doxxing or publishing other people's private information, such as home addresses and bank details.

In a Q-and-A with BuzzFeed, Twitter said any content that violates its new rules will be immediately banned from public viewing, provided the person pictured in the content reports it to Twitter and verifies that he or she is indeed the person in the photo or video.

Moreover, users who post banned content will also be locked out of their Twitter accounts unless they agree to delete the content in question. People who continuously post these types of content with intent to harass another person will be suspended from Twitter.

"You may not publish or post other people's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address, or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission," stated Twitter on the updated Rules page. "You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent."

Twitter agents will act on all reports regarding such content, and users who post these kinds of content will be able to appeal the takedown requests if they find them unwarranted.

Twitter also said it may provide private information about the poster if required during a valid legal process, whether initiated by the individual referred to in the content or by law enforcement officials.

The new rules do not include intimate or explicit photos that have been authorized by the subject for sharing online. They also do not cover content that has been previously indicated as publicly available with permission.

The updated Twitter policy is the latest move by the microblogging platform to beef up its response to online abuse, which is rampant on Twitter, a platform previously known for its free-wheeling stance on the right to freedom of expression.

Last month, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo all but admitted that Twitter's response to cyberbullying on its platform is horrendous, and he took personal responsibility for his company's failure to improve its responses.

"We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years," Costolo said in an internal memo obtained by The Verge. "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 ... We're going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them."

In August 2014, Twitter announced it would begin taking steps to address cyberbullying on its platform, beginning with a small update rolled out in December that streamlined its reporting and flagging feature for posts that are deemed abusive, followed by a similar update in February this year for reporting and flagging posts that conduct impersonation, self-harm, and non-consensual sharing of other people's private information.

Photo: Andrew Mager | Flickr

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