On Wednesday evening, Twitter changed its rules to state that it would forbid users from posting revenge porn and non-consensual nudes on the service. In the private information section of the site’s policy list, the company added that users “may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.” Twitter also updated its Abusive Behavior Policy with the same language.
The social platform has long had a problem with users harassing and intimidating other users, but until recent months, its response had been tepid at best. In February, Twitter announced a “report abuse” function and reportedly tripled the number of abuse support staff to streamline the process of suspending accounts that appear to harass others. At the time, Twitter’s abuse crackdown focused mainly on doxing, or the practice of making public “private and confidential” information against a person’s wishes.
Revenge porn, too, has a storied history in Internet circles. Recently, California, as well as England and Wales, outlawed the practice, which involves posting nude or sexually explicit photos of someone—usually an ex-partner—without their consent. The practice gained notoriety due to the popularity of websites run by the likes of Hunter Moore, Kevin Bollaert, and Craig Brittain, all of whom faced or are facing some sort of legal action for demanding money from victims in exchange for taking down the nude photos.
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