Newsworthiness considerations

Medium evaluates flagged and reported content according to its rules and takes appropriate actions against violations of them, including warnings, suspension, and decreased distribution. For all reported content, we take into account things like newsworthiness, the context, nature, and likely effect of the posted information, and applicable laws.

In evaluating newsworthiness, we consider, at minimum, the following:

Public status of the subject

The subject of the content is one of the following:

  • Private person (adult)
    • An adult who does not qualify as a limited-purpose or general public figure (as those terms are generally understood under US law)
  • Private person receiving involuntary publicity
    • A private person who is the subject of publicity or exposure of personal information, despite not having apparently invited public attention to themselves in general or in relation to a particular issue
  • Minor (under 18 years)
    • A private person (or limited-purpose public figure) who appears to be under 18 years of age
  • Limited-purpose public figure
    • A person who has publicly distinguished themself or invited attention and comment relative to a particular (narrow) issue or interest in order to shape or influence related conversations and outcomes
  • General-purpose public figure
    • A person with pervasive power and influence in society, such as an elected official, major celebrity, head of a large corporation, or similar

Assessment of status

Content involving private persons (including involuntary public figures), and especially minors, is the least likely to be considered newsworthy and may be subject to suspension on privacy grounds unless other factors prove it to be newsworthy.

Content involving limited-purpose public figures may or may not be considered newsworthy, depending on context, the nature of the information posted, and whether the criticism contained is limited to the narrow issue for which the person has invited publicity, and does not include personal attacks, harassment, hate speech, dehumanization, or other rules violations. 

Content involving general public figures is the most likely to be considered newsworthy. 

Reasonable expectation of privacy

Medium’s rules prohibit the following:

  • Posting copies of private communications between private individuals without the explicit consent of all parties to the communication
  • Doxing, which includes not only private or obscure personal information but also the aggregation of publicly available information to target, shame, blackmail, harass, intimidate, threaten, or endanger
  • Posting intimate or explicit images taken or posted without the subject’s express consent
  • Content that violates others’ privacy, including sensitive or confidential information such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, non-public phone numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, or other non-public information

In evaluating expectations of privacy, we apply a risk-oriented analysis which includes, at minimum, the following considerations:

  • Public status of the subject (see above)
  • Identifiability of the person(s) who are the subject of the content
  • Nature of the complaint, if applicable
  • Accuracy of information contained
  • Evidence of consent by all parties to disclose the included personal data, if any
  • Evidence of bad faith (including cross-platform campaigns) in disclosing the personal data, if any
  • Existing media coverage of the person(s) or incident(s) involved, if any
  • Actual harms or potential risks to personal safety and reputation of persons whose data is disclosed or aggregated involuntarily
  • Reasonable expectations of privacy based on the manner of disclosure and nature of the disclosed personal data
  • Whether the public interest in having access to the information potentially outweighs any reasonable expectations of privacy
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