OPINION: Twitter’s consent policy


Jared Sindt

“This new policy will allow Twitter to dictate what they consider newsworthy and keep it up or take it down as they deem necessary.” Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch.

Unless you haven’t been on social media recently, you have probably heard about Twitter’s new escapade to censor posts on their platform.

At its core, the policy will allow people who had videos taken without their consent to ask for the video to be taken down accordingly — but this only applies to certain situations.

“Twitter may decline to take down a reported image if it is publicly available elsewhere; is being covered by the media; or ‘adds value to the public discourse, is being shared in public interest, or is relevant to the community,’” the company stated.

This new policy will allow Twitter to dictate what they consider newsworthy and keep it up or take it down as they deem necessary.

Sexual assault recordings are said to fall under the newsworthy category, but recordings of police officers on duty are supposedly protected as they are considered public figures.

Although Twitter has made many addendums to this policy, it stands to wonder how they can go about enforcing it, and the controversy surrounding it.

One thing that is important to recognize is that this new policy is not a restriction of the First Amendment rights. What Twitter is proposing in their new policy does not violate any rights given to the public at its core.

Twitter has made some controversial decisions in the past however, such as banning Trump but allowing the Taliban to remain on Twitter. This alone should make people worried about the potential censorship of news.

Investigative journalism will also take a hit from this new policy, as videos, even ones that may not be consented, could be useful to journalists or even officers investigating certain cases.

Twitter has become a public forum for many people and a huge source of information. If this policy is implemented well, getting rid of fake news and slander could have a positive impact, but it’s hard to imagine this will come without hiccups.

The impact this will have on real news and journalists everywhere, and although this policy seems to have some good qualities, every decision Twitter makes to delete posts will be viewed as controversial and only add to the distrust in the company.

As a journalist myself, I can only hope that this policy doesn’t hinder actual news and does what it’s supposed to, to the best of the company’s abilities.