The New Twitter Privacy Policy Backfires on Leftists and Boy, Are They Mad

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Twitter announced a new “privacy policy” over the past week, and it evoked a lot of consternation from folks concerned about freedom and news reporting. The policy said that Twitter would now be prohibiting the sharing of images of private individuals without those people’s consent.

That of course immediately raised the question of how we would go about reporting on things like the violence and crimes of BLM/Antifa.

The policy even suggested that they might be enacting it to stop the posting of images such as those done by folks like journalist Andy Ngo or some of the other folks who follow Antifa.

The policy read, “the misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”

Now, everyone might understand that doxxing someone might be wrong — but why would “activists” be more subject to it? Maybe if “activists” were involved in a criminal action, such as rioting through a city? And there’s a fundamental difference between reporting the news of a crime or trying to dox someone to harass them.

While one might understand the concern about publishing private information, this rule is so vague as to potentially apply to a ton of news information. Twitter appeared to be trying to make an exception for news, such as if it “contains eyewitness accounts or on the ground reports from developing events.”

But now, CNN and some on the left seem very angry that the policy is being employed in ways they didn’t envision it would be. CNN claimed, “Right-wing activists are openly ‘weaponizing’ Twitter’s new private media policy.” It’s hilarious how mad they are.

Twitter acknowledged on Friday that a new policy it unveiled this week to protect users from harassment is being abused by malicious actors — days after journalists, left-wing activists and self-described “sedition hunters” reported their accounts had been locked for sharing publicly available images of anti-maskers, anti-vaccine protesters and suspected Capitol insurrectionists. [….]

In January, Samuel Braslow was covering an anti-mask protest at a Los Angeles mall for the Beverly Hills Courier, the 56-year-old local newspaper where he is a staff reporter. During the public event, Braslow tweeted a video of a standoff between anti-maskers and a mall official — a common practice in the age of digital reporting.
Braslow couldn’t have known that, this week, someone would file a report about that same photojournalism and cause Twitter to lock down his account. The complaint led to Braslow being unable to tweet until he either successfully appealed the report or deleted the old tweets. He was stuck. [….]

As of Friday morning, several accounts on Twitter that track open-source images of right-wing extremists and participants in the Capitol riot had been hit by suspensions under the private media policy, potentially jeopardizing what has become a vital source of information for law enforcement and federal prosecutors investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. Sean Beckner-Carmitchel, a Los Angeles videographer, told CNN his account was locked due to reports to Twitter involving videos he posted of anti-vaccine rallies and counter-protests in January.

“Anti-fascist” activist Chad Loder was upset that he was caught up in reports in this system.

On Thursday, Loder said they were trapped in an “endless cycle” of reports, account locks and appeals as one of their tweets was reported under the policy, restored by Twitter following an appeal, and then reported again on the same day, resulting in another temporary suspension linked to the same tweet. The tweet in question contained a photo of a person taking part in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to Loder.

In other words, they’re upset that a policy they thought they would use against the right is backfiring on the left, even though it’s admittedly being used to dox people in some cases — the very thing Twitter says the rule was created to prevent.

What was Twitter’s reaction to the complaints of those on the left?

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended — to curb the misuse of media to harass or intimidate private individuals,” Twitter said.

If they’re leftists and they complain, it’s all cool? That’s what that sounds like there.

This is the problem with such a ridiculous policy, to begin with. They should just scrap it because it’s unenforceable and inherently political, which they just proved by their reaction. This is already showing that Twitter is moving again in the wrong direction under its new CEO, Parag Agrawal. They shouldn’t be acting like publishers and trying to make a political judgment about what’s being posted — because they’re going to keep stepping in it again and again.