Tired of Trolls? Here’s #Tweesurfing’s How-To Manual for Twitter

Report abuses, mute words & be nice. Twitter’s #Tweesurfing is educating people on how to use Twitter positively. 

Updated
Tech News
3 min read
(Photo: Twitter India)
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How many times have you logged on to your Twitter, and sighed in desperation at the abuses in your ‘Mentions’ tab? While Twitter has been instrumental in bringing campaigns like #LahuKaLagaaan to the mainstream, cyber abuse, trolling and doxing are unfortunately frequent characteristics of being on Twitter. But what if you could use Twitter, without the ugly side-effects?

That’s what Twitter India’s latest initiative, #TweeSurfing, is trying to achieve. Along with Centre for Social Research (CSR), #Tweesurfing aims to address online safety issues on Twitter and through a series of workshops, is educating people on how they can express themselves positively on the microblogging platform.

So, how can you have a peaceful, troll-free experience on Twitter?

Must save the world, but first, let me tweet. How Twitter has become an integral part of our lives. 
Must save the world, but first, let me tweet. How Twitter has become an integral part of our lives. 
(GIF Courtesy: GIPHY)

Report That Tweet, And Spread The Word

The easiest way to deal with abuse on Twitter is to hit the ‘Report’ option.

Speaking to The Quint in a telephonic conversation, Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research said,

We want people to express themselves in a positive manner on Twitter, and one way to respond to abuse which we would like to encourage, is to ‘report’ the tweet.

It’s important not just to ‘report’ the tweet using the drop-down menu, but also to specify what is it about the tweet, which is offensive or abusive. (Whether it’s a rape threat or relentless torrent of ‘presstitute’ directed at you).

Another thing to keep in mind, is to follow-up. If action has been taken on a tweet which you’ve reported, spread the word so that your followers and friends know that ‘reporting’ is an option.

But what if a suspended account resurrects as a duplicate? And continues to abuse? According to Mahima Kaul, Head of Public Policy, Twitter India,

We’re taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts. This focuses more effectively on some of the most prevalent and damaging forms of behavior, particularly accounts that are created only to abuse and harass others.
Muting words you don’t want to see is an easy way to customise your Twitter experience. 
Muting words you don’t want to see is an easy way to customise your Twitter experience. 
(GIF Courtesy: GIPHY)

Muting Words, And Tricky Territory of Freedom of Expression

If you’ve been on Twitter for even a small amount of time, you’d be familiar with some words – ‘libtard’, ‘sickular’, ‘presstitute’ etc. But now with the ‘Mute’ button, you can customise your Twitter experience, to weed out the abuse and show mostly cat GIFs, if you prefer.

We’ve expanded the mute feature which now lets you remove certain keywords, phrases, or entire conversations from your notifications. Now, you’ll be able to mute from your home timeline and you can decide how long this content is muted – one day, one week, one month, or indefinitely.
Mahima Kaul, Head of Public Policy, Twitter India

At the same time, tweets which are considered to be ‘low quality’ are collapsed by Twitter, with a ‘See More’ option. One way in which a tweet is determined to be ‘low quality’ is if these tweets are made by Twitter accounts with no display picture.

But what if someone argues that calling a journalist a ‘presstitute’ is well within his or her freedom of expression?

This is what good Twitter etiquette looks like. 
This is what good Twitter etiquette looks like. 
(GIF Courtesy: GIPHY)

Well-known Twitter users have also joined the #Tweesurfing bandwagon with stand-up comic Rohan Joshi; BJP IT head Amit Malviya, and musician Ankur Tewari speaking from their firsthand experiences, on how to use Twitter in a beneficial way and avoid getting blocked.

Hate or love it, it’s hard to ignore how vital Twitter has become to our social media experiences.

But can Twitter emerge from the mess of trolling and cyber abuse to reassert itself as an important platform for ideas?
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