Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down.
Posted at 9:54 PM, Aug 20, 2014

Twitter has some pretty basic rules you need to follow if you don't want to have your account suspended. 

No spam selling new weight loss secrets, no threats of violence, which might also land you in jail, no making those accounts that have no tweets but follow you for some reason — the list goes on.

And now, if requested by a family member — no posting photos of deceased individuals.

Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler made the announcement Tuesday afternoon on his Twitter account.  

The amended policy says immediate family members can "request the removal of images or video of deceased individuals, from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death."

But Twitter has had a deceased person policy for a long time, so why is it amending that policy now?

Following Robin Williams' death, his daughter Zelda became a target for a small group who blamed her for his suicide.

After receiving insults and obscene photoshopped images of her father, she announced that she was leaving Twitter. The accounts that had harassed her were eventually suspended.

It was in response to the attacks on Zelda that Twitter's Vice President of Trust and Safety Del Harvey released a statement saying the social media company was working on updating its policy. (Video via TED)

The new policy was immediately put to use when Iraqi militant group ISIS released a gruesome execution video. 

Following that video's release, Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo announced"We have been actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you"

But, as a former Google public policy director tells The Washington Post, this isn't as clear cut as Costolo is making it out to be. 

"The dilemma is that you're one, a human being, and you don't want to be a jerk. But, second, the photos are obviously newsworthy. ... Their very existence is news. It's the sort of thing that moves history."

Twitter does offer a number of ways to filter content that has been marked as graphic including a default disclaimer that appears unless a user disables it. 

​This video contains an image from Getty Images.