How we’re encouraging a “fair go” for all on #AustraliaDay

Friday, 23 January 2015

For many, Australia Day (@OzDay) is defined by the humble Aussie BBQ or watching the cricket. But #AustraliaDay also represents a great opportunity to reflect on attributes that make Aussie culture unique, like a “fair go” for all. This means embracing the multiculturalism that makes Australia so special and respecting those diverse voices, ideas and perspectives in both the real world and online.

@TwitterAU is celebrating diversity this #AustraliaDay by taking a stand against online hate speech and through our support of the Australian Human Rights Commission (@aushumanrights) #itstopswithme initiative: “RACISM. IT STOPS WITH ME.”

The #itstopswithme campaign has been championed by 2014 Australian of the Year and @AFL legend Adam Goodes (@adamroy37), who has distinguished himself as a thoughtful and passionate anti-racism advocate.

To spread positive messages, @adamroy37 uses the platform to listen to everyday Australians and combat real-life issues by supporting campaigns like #itstopswithme.

At its heart, the #itstopswithme campaign was established to ensure more Australians recognise that hate and racism is unacceptable in our community and to provide Aussies with the tools and resources they need to take practical action and respond effectively against racism.

To support these goals, we pledged to demonstrate our commitment against hate speech at the #AustraliaDay launch last week:

Part of our commitment is to help Twitter users identify hate speech and respond to negative speech with constructive and positive messaging, images or narratives. This practice is called “counter-speech” and can be delivered in the the form of a witty retort, a humourous response or by using a few words to simply “correct the record.”

This is precisely how young Muslims took to Twitter to take a stand against how ISIS was representing Islam through the #notinmyname campaign.

A number of significant counter-speech movements have flourished on Twitter over the past month, including the home-grown movement #illridewithyou, which saw Aussies unite against intolerance and hate in the wake of the #sydneysiege.

And, others around the world visibly demonstrating their support for Australians.

When #jesuischarlie followed a week later, global online solidarity against terrorism surfaced immediately after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.

Counter-speech is an important tool that allows users to shine a light on intolerance and inequality. It’s also a powerful way for communities to make a stand against unacceptable behaviors and demonstrate support for people who’ve experienced such behaviors first-hand.

There are also rules that govern what our users can do on our platform and ways for users to report content and behaviour in violation of those rules. In instances where we determine that there has been a violation, we will take appropriate action.

You may sometimes encounter content and behaviors you find offensive but that are not in violation of the Twitter rules. As a platform for free expression, Twitter’s overarching goal is to encourage Tweets to flow.

It is important to remember that there are other ways you can deal with offensive users and unwanted Tweets; this e-postcard provides guidance on how to Block, Report, Ignore or Mute (BRIM).

This #AustraliaDay, why not make a pledge to speak up and try counter-speech the next time you see racist or hateful views online? Join in and let people know – #itstopswithme!