Twitter’s Privacy Policy: Parents Beware

Apr 01, 2014

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Parents may tend to rely on social networks doing self-monitoring because many do have policies about censoring users. For example, Facebook blocks users with inappropriate content, YouTube removes offensive comments, Instagram features a "report if inappropriate" option, etc. One main social network, however, refrains from much censorship: Twitter.

With an estimated 218 million users, Twitter serves as a platform for users to follow whatever or whoever interests them. In its policies, Twitter has established itself as a service whose goal is to "discover and receive content from sources that interest you." Twitter gives each user responsibility for any information shared and respects "the ownership of the content that users share." 

The only censorship Twitter does provide deals with handling impersonation, trademark, confidential information of others, violence and threats, copyright, unlawful use, and misuse of Twitter badges.  However, when it comes to content, Twitter does “not actively monitor and will not censor user content.”

Parents can’t depend on Twitter to block offensive language or sexually explicit or inappropriate images from their child’s feed.  Twitter’s privacy policies clearly state that posting rights belong to users. In the "Offensive Content" portion of its policies, Twitter states, "It is important to know that Twitter does not screen content or remove potentially offensive content."

Cyberbullying done via tweets should be another concern for parents. While Twitter does forbid any "direct, specific threats of violence against others," it does not "mediate content or intervene in disputes between users." Twitter recommends unfollowing or blocking an abuser to prevent contact and advises contact with the law enforcement if any physical threats have been posted. 

While Twitter’s policies do address handling online abuse, parents must be aware of content their child may be tweeting or involved with on Twitter.  Twitter may have lower protection standards for its users than you have for your child. Therefore, parents need to be involved and monitor what it is your child is seeing. 

Net Nanny Social is a great tool to help parents in this monitoring effort. The software can notify you of any inappropriate posts or conversations involving your child on not only Twitter, but also Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.