What is Storify's policy for editing or deleting stories?


Welcome to the Storify team's basic guidelines for investigating Storify content that gets flagged or reported. If you've been directed here, it may be because:

• You have questions about how Storify stories work.

• You've reported or flagged content that was created on Storify.

• You've received notice of a reported or flagged story on the Storify platform.

Check out the info, links and examples below for useful information on any of these.

First, the basics: What exactly is Storify?

Maybe you contacted our team about something you saw on Storify, but you're unfamiliar with what Storify is or how it works. If so, the info below may answer your questions.

Basically, Storify is a technology platform that allows people to:

• Easily find and collect the best of what's being said or shared publicly across the web that's related to a topic you're interested in (e.g. things like tweets, public Facebook posts, Instagram images, news articles and more).

• Curate what you find and add your own narrative around it, then publish what you've created as a public Storify story.

• Share the story anywhere, whether it be via the story's URL, by embedding it on your site or showcasing it in a Twitter Card.

For example:

• A news organization might share updates related to breaking news or report on a story developing via social media.

• An online group, non-profit or government organization might capture social discussions, chats or Q&As that happen on social media.

• An individual might capture tweets related to something that's trending or "group" together multiple social media updates to easily share the story beyond his/her followers.

PLEASE NOTE: The Storify staff does not write the stories you see on Storify. 

Storify launched publicly in 2011. Later that same year, it was already named one of TIME magazine's 50 best websites.

Today, millions of Storify accounts exist, and "social storytelling" is being done by individuals, brands, universities, governments and newsrooms every day. Storify stories have even been a part of a 2013 Pulitzer Prize, the 2014 "Best in News" Shorty Award, and the 2015 Online Journalism Awards finalists.

Why mention this? Because on Storify, millions of accounts are curating and quoting the billions of pieces of publicly-available social media created online every day.

This means the user-generated stories on Storify can touch on a wide array of topics and viewpoints, just like content on something like a blogging platform or social network might. We understand this means some stories or quoted materials likely deal with subjects, issues or personal disagreements individuals may be sensitive to. Our hope is we can create and apply some basic guidelines to sensitive situations if needed so that Storify's features and technology can continue to be used as intended.

Ok, so will Storify censor, edit or delete the stories people are making if I ask?

Our general policy is this: The Storify technology enables publicly-available information (such as social media) to be found and quoted in stories, but it is not the Storify staff's policy to directly edit, censor or delete the stories on peoples' accounts without investigating first.

Certain exceptions exist, and there are some instances where Storify will definitely get involved and edit or remove user-generated content in stories. In general however, it is not the Storify staff's aim to become involved in things like personal disagreements happening publicly on social media or differences in opinion which cause people to write their own narrative or interpretation of events that occur.

If you'd like the Storify staff to investigate the content of a story, use the "Report Abuse" button at the bottom of the Storify homepage to open an investigation as soon as possible.

If the Storify team receives a request to investigate, edit or take down a story, these factors will be investigated:

Is (or was) the content used in the story publicly available?

If the story is simply quoting publicly-available information or statements made online, there's little chance Storify will intervene and remove it. 

Example request: "I tweeted something publicly, and my tweet was quoted in a story by a news organization using Storify. Will Storify edit the quoted tweet out of the organization's story or delete the news organization's account altogether as soon as I ask?"

In this example, Storify will likely not get involved. Public content or status messages can be found and quoted on Storify, just like they can be found and used via search engines and social networks.

In fact, in the case of tweets, you might find that the publicly-available tweet is quoted or used in a variety of places on the web besides Storify. This is because Twitter explicitly mentions that public tweets may be used this way in the first sentences of its terms of service, pictured here:

Example request"My Twitter account has always been Protected, but somehow someone has gained access to my protected tweets and exposed them in a public Storify story. Will you take the story down?"

In this example, Storify would investigate that the tweets have always been private/protected and become involved if they were.

NOTE: if your Twitter account is "Protected," its tweets will not show up in any Twitter search areas on Storify. Twitter's Search API blocks this from happening. You can find more information about Public and Protected tweets in this article from Twitter's Help Center.

Is a Storify account trying to officially represent a person or organization without authorization?

If so, Storify will definitely get involved if alerted. Contact Support (support@storify.com) to let us know what's happening.

Example request: "My name is John Doe. Someone has created a "John D'oh!" profile on Storify with a bio that reads 'this is a fake account done in satire.' Will you take it down?"

In this example, Storify will likely not get involved. The account may have a similar-sounding username as a public figure, but it clearly indicates that it is fake or done in satire.

This is similar to one aspect of Twitter's account takedown policy (for instance, the non-official Twitter account @BillMurray exists on the service despite using the name and username of a public figure).

Example request: "An account on Storify uses my first and last name, picture of me and has a bio that says "official account." I did not create this account. Will you take it down?"

In this example, Storify would investigate the account in question and likely become involved.

Is there a copyright dispute?

Storify will respond to valid DMCA takedown notices of alleged copyright infringement. More info about processing an copyright dispute can be found here.

Are someone's stories going beyond "just quoting" publicly-available material?

When a story is reported, things like an account's prior history of stories will also be considered. If an account is demonstrating behavior deemed to be outside the intended use of the Storify service and its features, this may change the results of an investigation, and the account may be warned, have content removed, be suspended from creating new stories or deleted altogether.

In many cases, this applies to accounts which violate Storify's spam policies or who are repeatedly creating stories just to further incite online disputes happening between a small number of individuals.

Please note: The Storify staff will always consider the content of a story or Storify account in an investigation first when trying to apply these guidelines. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for the scope of investigations to ask for large amounts of content outside of Storify to be read and considered, or for content that's being publicly discussed to be deleted only given one person's viewpoint or sensitivities. However, if you have the results of investigations from other services available, such as images or links to a decision Twitter made concerning an account there or official court documentation, this can certainly help speed up an investigation into Storify content.



Frequently asked questions about disputed content or accounts:

After reading the info above, I understand why Storify might not edit or delete a story immediately upon me asking. Does this mean I'm totally out of options?

Though the guidelines above might mean Storify won't edit someone's story immediately upon your request, you still have options. Many times the creator of a story is happy to edit it if notified somehow, such as:

  • You asking in the story's Sidenotes (the story owner may see and reply to these)
  • You asking the person or organization via another channel besides Storify (their Twitter account, their site's contact email, etc.)
  • A Storify support rep would be happy to reach out to the account owner on your behalf if needed (simply include this request when reporting the story via the "Report Abuse" button at the bottom of the Storify homepage).

I tweet publicly but have blocked someone on Twitter. There's no way that person can find my public tweets now, right?

Yes, your public tweets can still be found. Storify's "Twitter" source is simply a direct connection to Twitter's Search API, and we're afraid there is no end point in the Twitter search API we can use that will stop a public tweet from showing up because someone was blocked. You can find out more about what Blocking someone on Twitter does in this article from Twitter's Help Center. This is an excerpt from that page:

As the privacy note from Twitter indicates above, even if you've blocked someone on Twitter, please consider that your public tweets can still be found in all sorts of ways that a block does not affect:

• Public tweets can be found via twitter.com/search by anyone

• Public tweets are indexed and can be found on search engines like Google

• Public tweets are cached and can be found on social search services like Topsy.com

• Anyone not logged in on Twitter can still see public tweets by visiting your Twitter profile or the URL of a tweet

Note: if you use a Protected Twitter account, your protected tweets will not show up in Twitter searches on Storify.

My public tweets are getting quoted on Storify. I get an email notification from Storify when this happens. Is there a way to turn these off?

If you're getting these email notifications, it means that you also have a Storify account, and you have "Notify me when I'm quoted in a story" turned on in your account settings. This can be turned off in the "Notifications" area of settings:

Ok, but I also get emails from Storify when people I know are quoted in stories. Can I turn those off?

Yes. Again, only people with Storify accounts who have this notification turned on in their account settings will get these sorts of emails. These notifications can also be turned off in settings

Got it. I can turn any notifications I want off and not get emails. Is there some way to ensure my tweets are only found by the people I want from now on?

Again, even if you block people on Twitter, your tweets can still be seen on your Twitter profile and by people searching public information. If you want absolute control over who can see your Tweets, Twitter recommends protecting your account

Is it OK to publish many stories just to generating a lot of email notifications for others? What if an account is creating a lot of stories with the expressed intent of "trolling" others online?

No, and if Storify receives "Report Abuse" notices about this, our admins may take a number of actions pending investigation into these, possibly including:
• Issuing a warning notice to the account about "Report Abuse" claims
• Temporarily disabling the account's ability to trigger notifications on our network
• Disabling the account's stories' ability to appear in searches
• Have stories un-published so they are no longer publicly accessible
• Delete story content or entire stories
• Suspend an account's ability to create new stories
• Delete an account altogether

I've read everything above but would still like Storify to investigate a story. Who do I contact?

We've added a Report Abuse form at the bottom of the Storify homepage. When a Report Abuse form is submitted successfully there, the Storify team will be notified and an investigation request added to our team's queue.

Please note that when Storify receives a request to edit or take down a story because of what's quoted in it, we will first investigate the story based on the guidelines above.
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