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Twitter to consider family requests for removal of photos of deceased people

Twitter has announced a new policy whereby it will remove photos or video of deceased people if close family members (or other "authorised individuals") request such a removal.

In a statement on its support page, though, the social network noted that the action wouldn't necessarily be carried out, but would be actioned under "certain circumstances". If an image (or clip) is considered to be in the public interest, it may not be stripped from the site.

The full statement read: "In order to respect the wishes of loved ones, Twitter will remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances. Immediate family members and other authorised individuals may request the removal of images or video of deceased individuals, from when critical injury occurs to the moments before or after death, by sending an e-mail to When reviewing such media removal requests, Twitter considers public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content and may not be able to honour every request."

Family can also get the deceased person's Twitter account deactivated, of course.

Related: Twitter experiment turns favourites into retweets - and users aren't happy

The move follows the death of Robin Williams, and subsequent hounding of his daughter Zelda on Twitter. As well as messages blaming her for the death of her father, she apparently received pictures of him with bruises photo-shopped around his neck.

At the time, Twitter said it was "in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one", and this policy move would seem to be a direct result of that evaluation process.

Image source: Shutterstock/Bloomua