Twitter has said it will remove images and videos of dead people at the request of immediate family members.In a crackdown on gory and upsetting photographs on the service, Twitter said it would consider removing images of deceased individuals taken “from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death”.
However, it said it would take into account the public interest of any content and warned that it may not comply with all requests.
On Tuesday, following the beheading of American journalist James Foley, the White House contacted social networks asking them to remove videos of his death.
Twitter declined to say whether it had also had a request from Mr Foley’s family.
But Google’s former public policy chief Andrew McLaughlin warned the photos could have an important news value.
He told the BeemTech: “You can imagine that if you’re a family member of this person, by all means you would want the horrific photos of their moment of death taken offline.
“But … the photos are obviously newsworthy.
“It’s awful that these photos were taken, and it’s awful that this moment happened, but their very existence is news.
“It’s the sort of thing that moves history.”
The policy change comes a week after Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda abandoned her Twitter account over gruesome digitally altered images of her father.
Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey said: “We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter.
“We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one.
“This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”