Twitter builds partnership with UNESCO on media and information literacy

By Ronan Costello
Thursday, 24 October 2019

At Twitter, we have always championed the free flow of information and people’s right to free expression online. These complementary commitments intersect when we discuss media and information literacy.

We want to empower the people who use our service to critically engage with the content they see. That’s why today, to mark the beginning of @UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2019, we are launching a new handbook for educators, entitled Teaching and Learning with Twitter.

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Easy-to-read, informative and fun, the handbook primarily aims to help educators equip younger generations with media literacy skills, in turn enabling them to ask the right questions about content they engage with online, and critically analyse news and information they engage with on the service. 

The resource contains best practice guidelines on media literacy from UNESCO, and also a reading list curated by UNESCO’s program specialists, which is intended to guide educators through current teaching literature on this topic.  

To ensure it has a wide global reach, it will be initially translated into 9 different languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Japanese, Swedish, Hindi, with future plans to translate it for other countries.     

We’ll also be distributing the resource to schools by leveraging our many partnerships across the world, for example through UNESCO’s network of relevant NGOs, state education agencies, and the European network of Safer Internet Centres. 

These efforts directly complement our policy development process on misinformation, specifically a new public comment period where you can provide feedback on upcoming policies we will be enacting to combat synthetic and manipulated media on our service.

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The digital classroom

The Handbook also contains tips for educators and parents who want to unlock the benefits of Twitter as a learning tool in the classroom or at home, offering a helpful blend of theory, lesson plans, and case studies. 

Taking a holistic view of what it means to be able to be a good digital citizen, the handbook also contains sections which cover online safety, dealing with cyberbullying as an educator, and learning how to control your digital footprint. You can read it in more detail here.

UNESCO and Twitter’s partnership

The resource is a product of Twitter and UNESCO’s ongoing 18 month global partnership in this area, during which time we supported NGOs working on media and information literacy through our Ads For Good programme and supported their #MILClicks programme with a range of on-service activity, such as the serialisation of content from @MILClicks.

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Some of Twitter’s other activities include: 

  • Launching a dedicated emoji with accompanying hashtags #GlobalMILWeek, #ThinkBeforeSharing, and #ThinkBeforeClicking.
  • Partnering with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to support Media Literacy Week in the United States using the hashtag #MediaLitWk
  • Offering Ads For Good grants to NGOs in @UNESCO’s network to help raise awareness for their work.

VP of Public Policy, Government and Corporate Philanthropy at Twitter, Colin Crowell, states: “At Twitter, we are hopeful that this Handbook will have a tangible, beneficial impact on students across the world by helping educators impart critical information and skills to younger generations about how to navigate an increasingly complicated media environment. We deeply treasure our global partnership with UNESCO on media and information literacy and this project strongly benefits  from UNESCO’s expertise in this area. We look forward to continued discussion and collaboration with UNESCO on how media and information literacy can be a defence — particularly in our young people — against disinformation and political propaganda around the world.”  

Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO says: “Polarized information is driving a rise in hate and discrimination and is often amplified by inauthentic and malicious activity, while disinformation is compromising democracy and development. Promoting media and information literacy learning through social media platforms, such as this Twitter and UNESCO collaboration, could be far-reaching if systematically implemented and sustained.” He continues, “This is only the start of Twitter and UNESCO working together, we can expand our cooperation to give more impetus to promoting media and information literate citizenry in online spaces.”


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Ronan Costello


Public Policy

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