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Hours after images and videos of the beheading of journalist James Foley were disseminated across Twitter, the social media service announced a conditional change that would allow families to request that images of the deceased be removed from Twitter.

The change was announced, naturally, in a tweeted statement by a company spokesman late on Tuesday evening.

In order to respect the wishes of loved ones, Twitter will remove imagery of deceased individuals in certain circumstances." 

On Twitter's website, it clarified the policy and its "certain circumstances" caveat:

Immediate family members and other authorized 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 honor every request." 

Meanwhile, the service continues to suspend Twitter users who post images of Foley's violent beheading.

The policy shift also comes nearly a week after announcing that Twitter would crack down on trolls in the wake of the death of Robin Williams. Following the actor's death, his daughter Zelda was subjected to bullying on the service, including being bombarded with doctored and offending images of her late father.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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