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NNEDV Applauds Twitter for Taking a Stand Against Abuse

March 11, 2015

Earlier today, Twitter updated their Rules on threats and abuse to prohibit users from posting “intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.” The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) commends Twitter on this policy change. For many survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, the nonconsensual posting of intimate images or videos is a common and devastating tactic of abuse.

Perpetrators often post intimate photos or videos of victims to further humiliate, embarrass, or harass them. These photos and videos are often sent to the victim’s friends, families, and colleagues. As these images become viral and are seen by thousands of people, the potential for abuse and danger increases as criminals who see these images may then blackmail or exploit the victim for more photos or money. Many victims have even had strangers show up at their homes, demanding sex.

Social media can be used to abuse, but can also be a powerful platform for social change. A greater number of websites are recognizing the need for privacy policies that address the needs of domestic violence survivors. Twitter’s policy recognizes the harm that victims face when an intimate photo is shared without permission. Two weeks ago, Reddit updated their policy to prohibit the posting of nude or sexual images without the consent of the individual in the image.

NNEDV hopes that other online sites follow the direction of these companies by protecting victims’ privacy and recognizing the dangers of sharing intimate images without consent.

For more information and resources on the intersection of technology and domestic violence, visit NNEDV’s Technology Safety blog.