Twitter to remove images of deceased upon request

Twitter has some reservations in granting wishes of kin

Twitter said late Tuesday it will remove images and videos of deceased people upon the request of family members, but it put conditions on the policy.

The microblogging service made the announcement a week after the daughter of the late comedian Robin Williams said she would quit Twitter after receiving gruesome images of him from online trolls.

The move also comes as Twitter tried to delete images and video depicting the death of U.S. photojournalist James Foley, who was apparently killed by the militant group Islamic State, better known as ISIS.

"In order to respect the wishes of loved ones, Twitter will remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances," Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler said in a message about the update to its policies.

"When reviewing such media removal requests, Twitter considers public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content and may not be able to honor every request."

Twitter, which boasts 271 million active monthly users, posted details of the policy that require the estate or a person's family member to provide documents such as copies of a death certificate and government-issued identification.

Family members or other authorized people can request the removal of photos or video of deceased people on Twitter "from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death," it said.

Twitter still refuses to provide account access to anyone, even if they are related to the person who has died.

Women have been the target of threats an abuse on Twitter, and critics have urged the company to change its Twitter Rules. A year ago, it introduced an "in-tweet" abuse button to report violations.

But some have complained that it's still impossible to stop determined trolls.

"Ive endured this for two years, and so have countless others," Twitter user Imani Gandy recently wrote about the racist invective she suffers at the hands of one particular troll.

"He creates hundreds of accounts to tweet his inane ramblings to my friends, online acquaintances and even my work. He latches on to any tweet of mine and harasses anyone that I interact with."

She criticized Twitter for being slow to act and having no solutions beyond suspending accounts, adding she and other users are trying to get Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to strengthen the service's abuse policies.

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Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
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