Twitter bans “revenge porn”

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Twitter Finally Banned Revenge Porn. Now How to Enforce It?.

Twitter bans revenge porn. After CEO Dick Costolo admitted that Twitter “suck[s] at dealing with abuse,” the company is trying to improve the way it handles revenge porn, the posting of nude or sexual images or videos publicly without the subject’s consent.

Twitter has taken steps to clamp down on “revenge porn” and leaked photos of nude celebrities by updating its official rules so that consent is required from the subject of photos posted to the site. It marks Twitter’s second move toward defeating trolls after it made it more difficult for users to be “doxxed,” or have their private information exposed against their will. Thousands of intimate photos of celebrities, including those of actress Jennifer Lawrence, were posted online last year and then circulated on social media after a breach of their passwords. This protects victims so long as moderators move quickly and insulates against false claims by anti-porn activists.” The Communications Decency Act protects website owners from being held liable for the content users post on their websites, making it difficult for authorities to go after them.

The micro-blogging site said that users who report content shared without their consent will be required to verify their identity and prove their lack of consent over images. Kevin Bollaert, a revenge porn site operator from California was found guilty of 27 counts of identity theft and extortion for posting naked photos without the consent of the women in the photos. Set aside for a moment the confounding fact that until just a few hours ago posting nude pictures of another unwilling human was kosher in the Twitterverse. Users may not make direct, specific threats of violence against others, including threats against a person or group on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, or disability.

Hunter Moore, known as “Revenge Porn King” and “The Most Hated Man On The Internet,” plead guilty to federal charges for posting stolen naked photos of hundreds of women. The new Twitter rules are plainly stated, unambiguous, and are designed to help a lot of vulnerable people: Private information: 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. What if, for instance, a photo has already reached all corners of the internet (like during the celebrity hacking scandal) and is then posted to Twitter?

Craig Brittain, who ran a Hunter Moore copycat site “Is Anybody Down,” has pledged to get out of the porn business after getting heat from the Federal Trade Commission for engaging in unfair business practices. Though doing so is still a depraved act, it may not necessarily be against Twitter’s rules: Keep in mind that although you may consider certain information to be private, not all postings of such information may be a violation of this policy.

We may consider the context and nature of the information posted, local privacy laws, and other case-specific facts when determining if this policy has been violated. Feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian was threatened with rape, sexual violence and death by Twitter trolls during the Gamergate saga after she criticised the way women are portrayed in video games.

After years of criticism of its handling of online harassment and bullying, Twitter is taking steps to curb online “trolls” and remove offending content. As it outlined in response to a series of questions from Buzzfeed, the platform has a team working day and night to address complaints from its users, and violators will have their accounts suspended. The company won’t, however, ban IP addresses or provide them to law enforcement, except “in response to valid legal requests.” The changes in Twitter’s rules comes only a month after Reddit explicitly banned revenge porn and pledged to remove all images in violation of that new policy.

To get an offending picture taken down, the victim has to first know that it exists, then ask Twitter to remove it, and finally wait an unspecified and agonizing amount of time for a ruling. In the meantime, a determined troll can have set up a few dozen more accounts, each ready to post the same photo, triggering the entire process again. If it seems far-fetched that someone would go through all that trouble to cause another human embarrassment and pain, very recent history has demonstrated otherwise. During the peak of the Gamergate movement, female game developers—and many, many others—found themselves the victims of a barrage of Twitter harassment, some of which included the outing of “private and confidential information” that Twitter had already banned. And if your nudes are being distributed on Twitter without your knowledge, it would seem to be impossible, since takedown requests need to come directly from the aggrieved party.

The company has also made a concerted effort to streamline the process of reporting harassment and abuse over the last few months, and promises even further action going forward.

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