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Right-wing activists are openly ‘weaponizing’ Twitter’s new private media policy




The acknowledgment highlights how Twitter has been misled by what it described in a statement as “a significant amount of coordinated and malicious activity” that caused “several errors” in the Twitter application.

“We have corrected these errors and are undergoing an internal review to ensure that this policy is used as intended, to curb the misuse of the media to harass or intimidate individuals,” he said on Twitter.

Launched on Tuesday, Twitter’s new policy prohibits sharing images of individuals without their consent. The rule was created, Twitter initially said, with the aim of preventing its platform from being abused to harass and intimidate people, especially women, activists and minorities.

But right-wing groups and anti-mask activists have quickly determined that Twitter’s new policy offers an opportunity to attack those who may call attention to their real-world identities. And in a matter of days, they set up a coordinated campaign to flood Twitter with allegations that left-wing activists, January 6 investigators and journalists covering rallies have published their faces without consent in violation of the new rule.

Twitter says it will remove images of people posted without consent

In January, Samuel Braslow covered an anti-mask protest at a Los Angeles mall for the Beverly Hills Courier, the local 56-year-old newspaper where he is a journalist. During the public ceremony, Braslow tweeted a video of a confrontation between anti-maskers and a mall official, a common practice in the age of digital reporting.

Braslow could not know that, this week, someone would file a report on this same photojournalism and cause Twitter to close its account. The complaint prevented Braslow from tweeting until she successfully appealed the report or deleted old tweets. He was trapped.

What happened to Braslow is growing more and more across Twittervers as the new social media platform policy has become a battleground.

“Due to Twitter’s new privacy policy, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor, as we can remove Antifa f **** t doxxing pages more easily,” a recent message read on Telegram encrypted messaging application that was reviewed by CNN. The post, which has been viewed more than 19,000 times, lists dozens of Twitter accounts for followers to point to with claims of violations of the new privacy policy. Among the goals is Bellingcat, the awarded investigative journalism team.
After submitting these reports, some people have done so publicly celebrated “Assemble” the new Twitter rule. A couple of CNN-reviewed posts on alternative social media site Gab boasted of making dozens of reports on Twitter and urging allies to “stay on the offensive” against “antifa” and “their videos doxxing from riots “.

The rapidly evolving campaign stands out as a tool designed to help protect vulnerable people has evolved rapidly to help protect others from the scrutiny that could result from their public actions.

Jack Dorsey leaves the post of CEO of Twitter
As of Friday morning, several Twitter accounts tracking open source images of right-wing extremists and participants in the Capitol riot had been hit by suspensions under private media policy, which could jeopardize what has become a vital source of information for law enforcement and federal prosecutors investigating the Jan. 6 insurgency. Los Angeles videographer Sean Beckner-Carmitchel told CNN his account was blocked due to reports on Twitter that included videos he posted of vaccine and counter-protest demonstrations in January.

The speed, scale, and enthusiasm with which some groups have invoked the policy, along with numerous application errors, have led some experts to conclude that Twitter’s policy is counterproductive.

Twitter declined to tell CNN how the reports were being reviewed and which ones could be handled by humans instead of artificial intelligence.

David Kaye, a former UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, said Twitter should reverse policy and return to the drawing board.

“From all appearances, Twitter’s new ‘privacy policy’ is a failure, well-intentioned (perhaps) but abused and played into,” he said. he tweeted. “They should be honest: admit he’s not ready for prime time.”

The new Twitter policy does not take sides, saying that “everyone” can be harmed by the non-consensual exchange of images that can cause emotional or physical harm.

The policy will generally not apply, said Twitter, to images of people at public events, such as “large-scale protests” or sporting events. Twitter added that the company will grant exceptions and allow images of people who may be part of a newsworthy event because of the value of public interest.

But these aspects of Twitter policy do not seem to have been followed at least in several cases.

“Videos in [my] The publication clearly represents informative content, as it was later picked up for broadcast by several affiliate stations and national outlets, “said Braslow, who previously appeared on CNN discussing their coverage of vaccine concentrations.

“It is really important to see the current actions of mass denunciation of the far right as the last save in a continuous and concerted effort for the memory evidence of their crimes,” said Chad Loder, an anti-fascist activist who said they use his Twitter account to document examples of the far right and police misconduct.

On Thursday, Loder said they were trapped in an “endless cycle” of reports, account locks and appeals, as one of his tweets was reported under the policy, which Twitter restored after an appeal. And then it was reported again the same day, leading to another temporary suspension linked to the same tweet. The tweet in question contained a photo of a person participating in the January 6 Capitol uprising, according to Loder.

Ken White, a Los Angeles-based lawyer representing Loder who specializes in First Amendment law, and who may be better known as his Twitter character, @Popehat, said Twitter has been having trouble with the abuse of their information tools.

“This new policy is even more the same,” he told CNN. “Witness how it is being used to remove the same accounts that have been identifying and documenting the January 6 offenders. It is impossible that they did not know this would happen, and it is inexplicable that they did not anticipate it.”