updated 06:12 am EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Change in Twitter policy to help protect families from malicious imagery
Twitter is now accepting requests to remove images and videos of the deceased. In a change of policy, the service announced it will take down photographs and other materials "in certain circumstances," with requests from immediate family members and other authorized individuals being considered for removal "in order to respect the wishes of loved ones."
Requests to remove images of deceased individuals taken "from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death" need to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, reports the Wall Street Journal. Twitter will apparently consider "public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content" for each request, and so advises it "may not be able to honor every request."
The update to its policies comes after Twitter user Zelda Williams was forced to quit the service following the death of her father, Robin Williams, after malicious accounts started to distribute fake and disturbing images of the late comedian. In response, Twitter head of trust and safety Del Harvey said "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.
The support pages have already been updated to include the new policy, alongside instructions for how a family member or an authorized individual can deactivate an account owned by the deceased.