Twitter Expands Privacy Policy One Day After Jack Dorsey Steps Down

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
November 30, 2021 Updated: November 30, 2021

A day after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO, the social media firm announced sweeping policy changes targeting the sharing of photos or videos of individuals.

“Beginning today,” Twitter said in a statement Tuesday, “we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent” before adding that “publishing people’s private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so.”

The platform has already banned users from posting or sharing others’ personal information—including their identity, documents, financial information, or addresses—without their consent. Twitter’s Tuesday statement said the latest policy update is an extension of the previous rules.

Under the new policy, material reported or flagged for violating the policy will be reviewed by Twitter and can be potentially removed. Those who violate the policy can be permanently suspended from the platform.

The new policy won’t be applied, in most circumstances, to “media featuring public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse,” Twitter said in its update. It’s not clear what qualifies for “public figures or individuals.”

“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,” according to the San Franciso-based firm’s statement. “For instance, we would take into consideration whether the image is publicly available and/or is being covered by mainstream/traditional media (newspapers, TV channels, online news sites), or if a particular image and the accompanying tweet text adds value to the public discourse, is being shared in public interest, or is relevant to the community.”

Furthermore, the image or video could be “part of a newsworthy event due to public interest value, and this might outweigh the safety risks to a person,” Twitter added.

Parag Agrawal
Parag Agrawal poses for a picture in a file photo. (Ellian Raffoul/Courtesy of Twitter via AP)

Previously, Twitter has been criticized for selectively enforcing its policies, including last year when the firm blocked the sharing of a New York Post article regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop and claimed the information was “hacked” despite there being no evidence.

It was later revealed that a Delaware computer repair business owner apparently obtained the laptop after it was left there and was never retrieved. The device included the younger Biden’s overseas business dealings, which became the subject of debate between former President Donald Trump and then-candidate Joe Biden last year.

On Monday, Dorsey and Twitter announced that he would step down from being CEO of the company he helped found in 2006. Twitter then named its chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, as CEO.

“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” wrote Dorsey on Monday.

About a year ago, Agrawal said that his company should “focus less” on free speech and, without elaborating, added that it should instead center itself around “healthy public conversation.” The resurfaced comments drew concerns that Agrawal may take a more hardline stance against free expression on the platform.

“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation,” he told Technology Review.“The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed.”

The Epoch Times has contacted Twitter for comment on Agrawal’s previous statements.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.