Twitter Will Now Withhold, Not Delete, Copyright-Infringing Tweets

Twitter has updated its copyright policy to allow for increased transparency when dealing with controversial and legally-ambiguous tweets. In order to keep account holders informed of their possible infringement, Twitter will now withhold tweets – instead of outright deleting them – if they face a copyright takedown complaint.

GigaOm first noticed Twitter’s updated copyright policy, discovering a reference to it in a tweet sent by a member of its legal team:


In the past, when a copyright holder complained about a tweet, Twitter would simply delete it and it would vanish from the network.

Now, tweets that have a copyright claim against them are replaced with a notice that reads:

“This tweet from @user has been withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder. Learn more:”

As GigaOm explains, this change is an important one. Those Twitter users who saw the original tweet are able to see why it no longer exists, and they can read others’ tweets in response to the takedown notice.

This might seem like a small change, but it goes a long way in promoting transparency on Twitter. Since tweets are often referred to in articles and by newsmakers, replacing infringing tweets with an explanation of why they no longer exist will at least help those making an effort to document events using the network. It’s much better than a “This page does not exist” notice!

Twitter has been slowly increasing its transparency when it comes to copyright issues. The company released a Transparency Report in July which documented the country of origin of its most recent DMCA takedown notices.

(Censored stamp image via Shutterstock)