Twitter changes policy on removing pictures of deceased


Twitter has revised its policy regarding deceased users, saying a family member can request the removal of imagery or their entire account from the service if they feel it is inappropriate.

Twitter said on the support page: "In the event of the death of a Twitter user, we can work with a person authorized to act on the behalf of the estate or with a verified immediate family member of the deceased to have an account deactivated."

The new instructions say a family member or representative of the estate can request that pictures of their loved one - or their entire account - be removed, as long as they can provide information including the deceased's username, a death certificate and a driving licence or passport (or other government-issued ID).

The family member must sign a declaration and include their email address, contact information (phone number and postal address), their relationship to the deceased user or his estate, whether they want the account to be suspended or just pictures removed and a "brief description of the details that evidence this account belongs to the deceased, if the name on the account does not match the name on death certificate."

Additionally, the family member can provide a link to an online obituary or a copy of the obituary from a local newspaper, but this isn't done as standard.

Twitter said it will only remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances. Authorised individuals and direct family members 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"

Twitter said before removing images, it will consider public interest factors such as the newsworthiness of the content.

The social network was encouraged to take action after Robin Williams' daughter was forced to leave the social network following derogatory pictures of her late father were posted.

The new rules were announced by Twitter's public policy communications head Nu Wexler.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.