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Does Twitter’s new photo rule protect your privacy or is it just a waste of time?

There’s no really such thing as privacy when it comes to mainstream social media. Every platform has its own policies (and flaws) — but you’re exposed to various degrees no matter which one you use. The only way to truly protect your privacy is to avoid social media altogether.

It’s never too late to pull the plug on your accounts. Facebook and Twitter don’t make it very clear when it comes to saying goodbye. We put together a DIY video to help you get rid of your accounts for good. Tap or click here to watch.

Social media companies know users want more privacy, so occasionally they’ll throw us a bone. Twitter is now barring users from sharing photos and videos of others without their consent. This expands on the existing private information policy that keeps users from sharing sensitive info. Read on for what you need to know.

More privacy rules

Twitter has long banned the sharing of someone else’s personal details. The site doesn’t allow users to post other users’ addresses, locations, identity documents (like IDs and passports), Social Security numbers, contact information such as email and phone numbers, financial account information, medical records, and or other private information without permission.

Now the policy has been expanded to include “media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted.” If the person depicted in the image or video notifies Twitter that they did not give their consent, the photo will be removed.

Twitter notes that the policy does not extend to media that features public figures when the posts are “shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

Why the change? Twitter says the aim is to curb the use of images and videos to “harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of private individuals.” Twitter says this behavior often targets women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.

So, what do you do if you see a photo of you you didn’t give permission for someone else to share? You can report it by tapping the three dot menu and selecting Report. From there tap on the buttons highlighting your issue.

The big question here is will this really do much good? There might be an immediate effect for activists and others who face real danger — but for everyone else? How will Twitter be able to follow up on every single reported violation with any kind of urgency? It seems like they already have enough to sort through.

Strange timing

The privacy change came the day after CEO Jack Dorsey announced he is stepping down. Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief technology officer, will replace Dorsey as CEO.

Only hours after Agrawal was named Twitter’s new leader, controversy erupted over a tweet he posted 11 years ago. This is a good reminder that your past activity on any social platform can come back to bite you, whether or not it’s taken out of context.

Related: If you had a Parler account, you need to remove it now

You can go back and clean up your old tweets one by one, but this can be a daunting effort. Luckily there are tools that can make it easier.

TweetEraser helps you filter and delete your Tweets. You can save a search filter and run it automatically at regular intervals. TweetEraser works on most devices and has a free version, along with paid subscriptions starting at $6.99 for 30 days.

TweetDelete is a free online tool designed to help you delete your Twitter history. You can also set a schedule to automatically delete Tweets using the same settings. You can even delete your old “likes.” A one-time payment of $14.99 gives you premium access to TweetDelete.

Keep reading

Twitter wants to charge you $3 a month – Here’s what you get

How to stop someone from seeing what you post on Twitter without blocking them

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