Events

An Update on Twitter’s Safety Outreach in India

By Mahima Kaul
Thursday, 29 June 2017

Twitter is the best way to see what’s happening in India and around the world. It’s the easiest place to find conversations, news, and video about the ideas and topics that Indians are passionate about. Twitter is unique in that it allows interactions between Indians from all walks of life in a public, concise, and easily accessible manner.

And while the majority of conversations on Twitter are positive, constructive, and can challenge and enrich our lives, some cross the line into abuse.

One of our most important goals at Twitter is to ensure our service remains safe for all users. At our core, we stand for freedom of expression and showing every side of a story. However, these principles mean nothing if abuse and harassment stifle and silence those who want to use our platform to make their voices heard.

Globally, we have taken a range of proactive steps to improve our user experience through technology, tools, feedback and policy updates. We’ve also been busy in India working with a number of local partners and organizations to help more people express themselves on Twitter and to feel safer doing so. Today, we launched #Tweesurfing program in collaboration with Center of Social Research to raise awareness on online safety in India. Read more here.

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Here's some of what else we've been up to:

Educating the community on how to stay safe on Twitter

  • We launched our #PositionOfStrength program in India, which focused on empowering female voices on the platform to speak from a position of strength online. We held these meetings in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Attendees included LG of Puducheery @thekiranbedi; the founder of Sheroes, @sairee; spokesperson of INC @priyankac19 and BJP spokesperson @shainaNC; chess champion @TaniaSachdev and food blogger @monikamanchanda.
  • We are in regular contact with government officials and civil society organisations on issues relating to freedom of expression, digital citizenship, and online safety. For example, we have conducted safety workshops with the @UPpolice and @MumbaiPolice, as well has hosted a number of Twitter safety workshop for NGOs.
  • We worked with the India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development for their trolling reporting  project. We trained the Ministry on Twitter’s policies and reporting tools so they can offer the best advice to those facing online abuse.
  • Earlier this year, we spoke at the ‘Women’s Safety Empowerment Conclave’ hosted by the Delhi Commission for Women, US Embassy and Shakti Vahini. The session focused on cyber violence against women, and covered patterns of online harassment and how Twitter’s tools allow users to curate a safe and positive experience.
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Supporting the vital work of our safety partners

  • Twitter India supported @SheSaysIndia in launching a safety guide to curb online harassment
  • For Safer Internet Day, we invited our safety partners @CSR_India and @INBreakthrough to the Twitter office for a Periscope chat to discuss online safety and campaigning on Twitter.
  • We worked with our partners @FeminismInIndia who were using Twitter extensively to empower the #YesAllWomen conversation. Our focus was on elevating these voices and highlighting the issue scale of gender-based harassment in India. 
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  • We regularly participate in Tweet-chats which discuss online safety issues, from mental health to bullying with organizations like @knowviolence, @SayftyCom, and @pinthecreep among others. We also help smaller organizations understand how to structure a successful Tweet-chat, enabling them to build a broader Twitter community.
  • We have also been increasingly proactive with regards to partnering with civil society organizations and academic institutions. Last year, we spoke at the launch of the Software Freedom Law Center’s Report, which was entitled ‘Online Harassment - A Form of Censorship’. Representatives from the @DelhiPolice, Google India, and Members of Parliament were also in attendance. 
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We’ll never be ‘done’ with safety. As India’s society and conversations evolve, so too does the challenge we face as a community. We’re learning a lot as we continue our work to make Twitter safer in India – not just from the changes we ship but also from the community partnerships and conversations we have, and of course, from the feedback we hear from our users. Stay tuned for more updates in the days and weeks ahead as we continue to work with our local partners to increase online safety and educate Indians on how to have a public voice on Twitter.

 

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@misskaul

Mahima Kaul

‎@misskaul‎

Head of Public Policy, Twitter India