Twitter and Centre for Social Research Expands Online Safety Program #TweeSurfing to Kolkata

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India, September 25, 2018: Twitter and Centre for Social Research announced the launch of #TweeSurfing, a public education initiative, in Kolkata over the weekend. The initiative seeks to address online safety issues and spread knowledge on how people can express themselves and engage positively on the platform. Twitter has launched #Tweesurfing events in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and now Kolkata.

The event highlighted the journey of #TweeSurfing and featured a panel discussion that talked about the different sides of conversations on Twitter, from #377Verdict, #WomenReservationBill and #MeToo. Panelists included Dr Ranjana Kumari @ranjanakumari – Director, Centre for Social Research; Mahima Kaul @misskaul – Head of Public Policy, Twitter India; Rahul Rajkhowa @RajkhowaRahul – Singer & Activist; Harish Iyer, @hiyer – LGBTQ rights activist; Manasi Salvi @ManasiSalvi, TV actress; Jimmy Tangree @jimmy_tangree, RJ 91.9 Friends FM;  among others. Each of these panelists shared their journey on the platform and talked about important guidelines to undertake when leveraging Twitter to express oneself.

One of the speakers, Manasi Salvi, talked about how ‘an empowered woman can only empower other women and initiate a change through a conversation, and how Twitter has been instrumental in facilitating that in the #MeToo campaign’. Another speaker, Rahul Rajkhowa, a musician and believer of technology for change, emphasised on the necessity of initiating healthy social and political debates on Twitter for particular narratives. A third panellist, Jimmy Tangree, took a different angle on using Twitter when he said, “Twitter has brought about change in many lives a made a difference for a huge section of the unprivileged – Life is never easy, it’s how easy you make it.”

The launch in Kolkata also saw active participation from the youth who were curious to hear from the panellists on their take regarding parental control on the use of technology. Also, there were questions regarding initiating healthy discourses on platforms like Twitter where they can put forth their issues and have a larger group talk about it and provide solutions.

The #TweeSurfing event in Kolkata marked our 4th event in India followed by events conducted in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Over, the coming months, we will be taking #TweeSurfing to Hyderabad and Chennai.

Commenting on the launch of #TweeSurfing, Mahima Kaul (@misskaul), Head of Public Policy, Twitter India said, “Twitter shows people what’s happening in India and around the world and we’re excited to break new grounds with @tweesurfing in Kolkata. This is the fourth city in India where we’re expanding the @tweesurfing initiative in, and we are proud to empower conversation around online safety, positive social change, and improve the health of conversations on the platform.”

Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research and President, WomenPowerConnect – ‎Centre for Social Research said, “TweeSurfing is our flagship initiative to battle hate speech in the online space. We are happy to build on the strong collaboration with Twitter, and I wish to thank Twitter India and Mahima Kaul for their continuous support. We have connected with more than 90 influencers who have shared their voyage on the platform which we directly shared with millennials and the others who wish to use #TwitterForGood. I am positive about our launch in Kolkata and speaking to the participants there.”

As part of the #TweeSurfing program, there is a 14-day virtual internship program called TweeShip that people can register for through @TweeSurfing. The program, delivered through Twitter DM, will train users on who sign up on how to create Twitter campaigns for social change, and let them practice what they have learnt in a real campaign. The modules will be available in English and Hindi.

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