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Revenge Porn & Online Threats – Social Media Steps Up

March 18, 2015

Twitter and Facebook Create New Rules Dealing with Revenge Porn, Threats & Other Issues

threats of violence on social media

Will new rules protect users of Facebook and Twitter from threats?

Social media is a wonderful way to communicate with other people, but, unfortunately, some people insist on using these tools in a negative fashion. Bullying, threats and posting of nude pictures for purposes of revenge (known as revenge porn) are entirely too common. Fortunately, this month, both Facebook and Twitter have stepped up and created new rules to help their users.

Revenge Porn

In Pennsylvania, revenge porn is actually illegal. A new law was passed to help victims deal with this problem. As a result, if you are a victim of revenge porn, you should take a screen shot and report it to the police. In addition, you can now expect both Facebook and Twitter to step up and help you get the photos removed. You should first secure a copy of the image and then request the sites to remove the images for you.

Twitter’s new terms of service state the following about revenge porn, “You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.”

Facebook also has specifically made revenge porn against its rules. Nudity is also not allowed on Facebook (barring exceptions for breastfeeding, mastectomy scars, art, educational material and satire.)

Threats

Specific threats, meaning threats made towards an individual, are not allowed on Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook states the following about how it analyzes threats, “We carefully review reports of threatening language to identify serious threats of harm to public and personal safety. We remove credible threats of physical harm to individuals. We also remove specific threats of theft, vandalism, or other financial harm. We may consider things like a person’s physical location or public visibility in determining whether a threat is credible. We may assume credibility of any threats to people living in violent and unstable regions.”

Twitter simply states, “You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others.”

Hopefully these changes mean that if you suffer a threat of violence on either site, the threats will be quickly removed. You should always report serious threats of violence to the police. Twitter has created a tool to help you report threats. On Facebook you will need to make a screen grab of any threats to show to the authorities.

Bullying & Harassment

Twitter and Facebook have also set out rules dealing with bullying and harassment. Private individuals are now protected from this kind of behavior. Public individuals are not generally protected.

Facebook states, “We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow you to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but remove content that appears to purposefully target private individuals with the intention of degrading or shaming them.”

Twitter’s statement is not quite as strong on the issue, ” Targeted abuse or harassment is … a violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service.”

Both Twitter and Facebook are concerned with attacks on specific groups who are often singled out for harassment, based on race, religion or orientation, but Twitter’s focus is on violence and threats as opposed to bullying and harassment, at least that is how I read its terms of service. Facebook is concerned about both. The difference in level of control is not surprising. Twitter has always been considerably more freewheeling than Facebook. On Twitter, barring a rule violation, videos and pictures with nudity and violence are allowed.

Conclusion

At this point it is too soon to tell if the new rules created by Facebook and Twitter will result in more civil online conduct. The actions on the part of both sites are what will matter. But, at this point, it is good to see that there are now rules in place to protect victims of threats of violence as well as revenge porn on these popular social media sites.

 

 

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