Twitter bans nonconsensual intimate photos, a.k.a. ‘revenge porn’

A mere moments ago this appeared on my Twitter feed. Fitting for today's lively discussion. We must take seriously the space many of us spend a lot of time within — cyberspace! As important as it is that platforms help create safer spaces for everyone, we must also question the near-ubiquity of posting other people's nude photos as a shaming method. How did this start? Why is it so effective and affective? Why do we use each other's bodies and the expressions of our bodies as shaming devices? Why is the nude body such a threat that it can be used to ruin people's lives? Why do we find sexuality threatening and 'inappropriate'? Why is there so much discourse that states, "well if she didn't want her photos leaked, she shouldn't have taken them." That is the same logic that we have seen when focused on the Pamela George case that plagues so many rape/murder cases — "She shouldn't have been walking there." Or the historical discourse to teach women how not to get raped rather than teach men not to rape. How do we reproduce the rhetoric that sticks in making people's lives so unbearable that some of them commit suicide? 

What about if you had posted images online and now you want them removed? What happens then? Can people not change their mind about what content they want available? How?

These questions also point to the fallacy of the online/offline virtual/real binary.

by Kashmir Hill

It has historically been a nightmare if nude or intimate photos of you made their way out onto the Internet. Beyond the sheer embarrassment of exposure, it was very, very hard to get those photos removed. If pleas to websites to take down revealing pics posted by vengeful exes or hackers didn’t work, women — and occasionally men — resorted to creative legal threats, claiming copyright over scandalous selfies or filing lawsuits saying that the posting was an invasion of privacy. Websites, protected from liability for what their users posted, were often unsympathetic and legally in the clear. But the tide is starting to change around nonconsensual porn — also called “revenge porn” — with social media platforms making it easier for people to get pics they never wanted publicly exposed taken down. Last month, Reddit banned revenge porn. On Wednesday, Twitter followed suit.

Technically, Twitter added this clause to its rules: “You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.” So if your vengeful ex decides to tweet a graphic present you bestowed upon him when you were dating, you’ll now be able to report it and Twitter says it will take it down “in a timely manner.” In a recent blog post, Twitter said it’s tripled the size of its abuse response team, and responds to reports far more quickly now, though the company doesn’t give out specific numbers.

[…]

So, how exactly will this thing work? I asked the employee just how intimate a photo needs to be for a person to take it down. Does it need to be X-rated or could it be a “nonconsensual” underwear bulge or side boob shot? He said that while there’s no hard-and-fast rule on what counts as intimate, the company is trying to get at the ‘range of horrendous behaviors that people engage in’ including not just full frontals and lingerie shots, but up-skirt photos and perhaps even what Reddit likes to call “creep shots,” revealing photos taken of unsuspecting women in public.

One catch is that you have to recognize yourself in the photo and report it; Twitter doesn’t want “body police” going through tweets and reporting every pornographic image they find. If an offending tweet is removed, all native retweets will disappear too, but you’ll have to report all manual RTs and any further postings of the photo or video. Twitter does not yet have a technical way to block a given photo once it’s been flagged as banned, though the company is working on it. Franks, for one, thinks it’s problematic that bystanders can’t report the posting of explicit images of others. “Every minute private sexual material is available increases the number of people who can view it, download it, and forward it, so even ifTwitter responds quickly to complaints, it may be too late to stop the material from going viral,” she said by email.

Read more

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s