Twitter updates policy after Williams death pics abuse on daughters account

Twitter has moved to update their policy on images posted to family members of the deceased on the social network, after the daughter of Robin Williams was sent gruesome photoshopped images of her late father shortly after his death.

Late on Tuesday, Twitter said it would remove images and videos of the deceased when requested by a direct family member or authorized individuals.

"In order to respect the wishes of loved ones, Twitter will remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances," said the company in a policy revamp announced on their support page. Twitter said it would consider removal of images of deceased individuals that are taken "from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death."

The policy change comes a week after Zelda Williams, the daughter of comedian Robin Williams who died a week ago on Monday, abandoned the network after individuals bombarded her with gruesome photoshopped images of her late father. "Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary," she wrote on Twitter before departing the social network.

Twitter responded by banning at least two accounts responsible for the bulk of the images sent, and said it would update its user-protection policies.

"We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter," Del Harvey, Twitter's vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement to The Washington Post.

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.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also made it clear they won't tolerate such behavior in an unrelated incident, involving a beheading of an American journalist by terrorist organization ISIS.

There's a catch though, Twitter said that while reviewing removal requests, it will take into account public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content and may not honor all requests.

Source: Washington Post via Cnet | Image: growingsocialmedia

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I can't imagine the type of person that would have the gall to do such a thing... You can "mute" and "block" the people sending that stuff, but you can't un-see what you've seen, and if they go and create new accounts... it's just a never-ending cycle...

If Twitter wants to be serious, they need better user account verification. Currently they only allow celebrities, companies and public figures to verify. They need this for normal everyday people too and make it mandatory. They'll probably lose a ton of users, but it'll up their reputation at least and they'll gain more legit users.

Suspended the accounts? All those culprits will have done is registered new ones. Totally pointless. Too much anonymity on twitter, which is giving these cowardly trolls somewhere to hide.

I don't use twitter (I have never tweeted, I can't think of anything that I would want to tweet) why are people able to tweet to someone's account without first being "authorized"?

are users able to send tweet any message to anyone? if this is the case then twitter must be "Troll Heaven"

Tweets can be to anyone. There are bots out there that will send spam @ people if their tweets contain certain words. For a pretty popular account, every tweet of theirs will get a bunch of people replying to them, ranging from asking legitimate questions to going "follow me pls" or maybe saying stuff like "you suck!" etc.

Usually such tweets can be pretty easily ignored; you're under no obligation to reply, and the other party never knows if you've even looked at it. Receiving images of your recently dead father, though... how easy is that to ignore?

Those people have ZERO standards (the scum of the internet). those type of people(more like animals) i think very low of to say the least as any decent person would never do that to someone as that's pretty serious stuff there. i would assume people who do that level of stuff (like what happened to Zelda Williams) must have a pretty bad life themselves and want to bring everyone else down with them or something.

and yet making a fake account would only takes minutes to start all over again, the problem would never be fixed, twitter is just trying to save face, it doesn't care about williams or his family really.

Unfortunately yeah.. does having a locked or protected account matter? like how you can block others from adding content to your Facebook timeline.

I would imagine you could block them from tweeting on your page but you would be locking the page basically and no point having it then and might as well just delete it, which she did. Some of these people who attack others textually or otherwise on social networks just have too much time on their hands and need to focus that energy elsewhere.

Yeah when I read the sources I had to wonder, how do people prove they are direct family? Getting an authorized account isn't easy either.

Steven P. said,
Yeah when I read the sources I had to wonder, how do people prove they are direct family? Getting an authorized account isn't easy either.

I'm guessing this is geared more toward celebrity accounts and those that are already verified. Regular twitter users would probably never need to worry about strangers posting pictures of their deceased relatives.

Steven P. said,
Yeah when I read the sources I had to wonder, how do people prove they are direct family? Getting an authorized account isn't easy either.

Its so difficult, even twitters CEO isn't verified.