Twitter has announced it will ban the sharing of images and videos of “private individuals” without their consent, leading to fears the platform will crack down on investigative journalism, and stop the exposing of violent riots and other crimes.
On Monday, Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, stepped down as CEO, and was immediately replaced by Parag Agrawal, the former Chief Technology Officer for the Big Tech company. Following his appointment, it was discovered that Agrawal had previously claimed that Twitter should not “focus on free speech,” follows a Soros-funded anti-free speech organization, and also has liked tweets that compare conservatives to ISIS, suggest people give money to BLM rioters, and liken COVID arguments to a “religious war.”
Only one day later, Twitter announced extremely strict new censorship rules. The Big Tech platform announced that they were expanding their “private information policy,” designed to stop people from being doxed on Twitter, to also include photos and videos that are posted of “private individuals” without their consent.
“There are growing concerns about the misuse of media and information that is not available elsewhere online as a tool to harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals,” Twitter Safety wrote in a blog post. “Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.” They confirmed that if a person in said media, or an “authorized representative” contacted the site, they will remove it.
Unsurprisingly, the immediate reaction to the news was shock and dismay from many people, who were concerned that Twitter would use their new private individual media rule to enforce a radical left-wing agenda, including shutting down tweets from conservative media outlets who are performing investigative journalism, or stop people from sharing footage of violent BLM or antifa protests.
In fact, the blog from Twitter Safety seemed to confirm this bias in their agenda, writing that “the misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities,” and that they might not shut down images or videos if “mainstream/traditional media” was covering a story with the relevant media.”