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Information about Twitter's sensitive media policy

Twitter policies for acceptable content

There's been a lot of discussion on Twitter about recent changes to their policies which many claim will sanitise Twitter of all adult content, reduce the usefulness of the platform for sex workers and generally remove the fun things from Twitter.

We thought we'd take a specific look at the actual policies that Twitter has in place to protect its users, most of which we think everyone will agree are required in order to make the platform a 'safe' place for individuals to interact.

"The Twitter Rules"

At the highest level, there is a set of rules, simply called "The Twitter Rules". These set out some high level controls aimed at Safety, Privacy and Authenticity. These high level rules can be found here TWITTER RULES

Included in these requirements is a prohibition on threats of violence, terrorism and extremism, child sexual exploitation, abuse/harassment, hateful conduct, promotion of suicide or self harm, promotion of illegal goods or services and , finally and most importantly for sex workers, controls on 'sensitive media'.

Most of these individual sections have specific policies relating to them, all of which can be found on Twitter here : Twitter Rules and Policies

Sensitive Media Policy

The Sensitive Media Policy is probably the one which is most relevant to Sex Workers, as many will wish to post content related to the provision of, amongst other things, sex work, camming, phone sex, or pornographic content

The policy starts by stating "You may not post media that is excessively gory or share violent or adult content within live video or in profile or header images. Media depicting sexual violence and/or assault is also not permitted."

So let's look at these in turn :

You may not post media that is excessively gory - possibly not relevant for most SW accounts, perhaps with the exception of some BDSM type accounts. The phrase 'excessively gory' is not defined, though there are some definitions of 'graphic violence' (see below) which are deemed acceptable as long as they are clearly marked as 'Sensitive Media'.

You may not share violent or adult content within live video or in profile or header images - this is a common mistake and has resulted in many Twitter accounts being deleted. As long as your header and avatar don't contain adult images you'll be fine - but note that 'Adult Content' includes porn, full or partial nudity (including genitals, buttocks and breasts), simulated or real sexual acts including cartoon depictions such as Hentai/anime.

Adult content may not be targeted at people who do not wish to receive unsolicited images of an adult nature. If your settings mark all your media as potentially sensitive then you should meet this requirement by default, as long as your material isn't considered to be unacceptable due to the additional criteria shown below.

You can click this link to check/change your settings : Link to change your settings on Twitter

Sexual violence/assault & Sexualised violence

You may not share media depicting sexual violence and/or assault - this applies whether the act of violence is real or simulated, and includes :
Rape and other forms of violent sexual assault, or sexual acts that occur without the consent of participants (including simulated non-consensual sex)
Sexualized violence - inflicting physical harm on an individual within an intimate setting, where it is not immediately obvious if those involved have consented to take part.

The first one is, I feel, fairly self explanatory and doesn't require much discussion. The second point is interesting as when we take a look at BDSM type play, there is a significant amount of material that could potentially fall foul of this requirement should it not be immediately obvious that those involved have consented to take part.

So, how do we make sure that this consent is clear? There is no clear guidance on this within the Twitter guidelines so I'd advise treading carefully here and not sharing anything where consent is not clear. Perhaps adding an intro to a movie clip showing that the restraint/flogging etc is both expected and welcome will suffice, but we're not 100% sure.

Gratuitous Gore

You may not share material containing gratuitous gore, which is defined as :

Gratuitous gore is any media that depicts excessively graphic or gruesome content related to death, violence or severe physical harm, or violent content that is shared for sadistic purposes. Some examples include, but are not limited to, depictions of:

dismembered or mutilated humans;
charred or burned human remains;
exposed internal organs or bones; and
animal torture or killing. Note: exceptions may be made for religious sacrifice, food preparation or processing, and hunting.

This is unlikely to apply to the vast majority of SW accounts, and so is included for completeness only.

All other adult content

All other adult content is acceptable, subject to two important requirements :
1. If you publish adult content your account must be set to "Mark Media you tweet as containing material that may be sensitive" - change this under Settings - Privacy and Safety
2. If your account is dedicated to publishing sensitive media then your account may be suspended if the majority of your activity on Twitter is sharing sensitive media. We interpret this as if more than half of your posts contain pornographic or other sensitive media then your account will be banned at some point.

Non-consensual nudity

This specific policy can be found here : Non-consensual nudity policy

Under this policy, you can't post or share explicit images or videos that were taken, appear to have been taken or that were shared without the consent of the people involved. (our emphasis)

Examples of the types of content that violate this policy include, but are not limited to:
hidden camera content featuring nudity, partial nudity, and/or sexual acts;
creepshots or upskirts - images or videos taken of people's buttocks, up an individual's skirt/dress or other clothes that allows people to see the person's genitals, buttocks, or breasts;
images or videos that superimpose or otherwise digitally manipulate an individual's face onto another person's nude body;
images or videos that are taken in an intimate setting and not intended for public distribution; and offering a bounty or financial reward in exchange for intimate images or videos.

So unsurprisingly, revenge porn is out, as is upskirting and use of hidden cameras. But what about the potential for a general interpretation that consent was not given for a normal posed photo? Clearly selfies have been taken with the permission of the model :) and as long as they're shared by the model's account then consent is clearly also present for the publishing of the photo too. For posed photos taken by a third party, some accounts have resorted to tagging each of their photos with a phrase similar to "Photo was taken with models consent" just to make it 100% clear that this is the case, however it isn't obvious at the moment whether this helps.

If you have any questions relating to the information contained on this page, please don't hesitate to contact us on Twitter @EscortLinkUK

6th January 2020