Social media for social inclusion: Tolerance and Diversity Training

Friday, 23 October 2015

On Australia Day 2015 (@OzDay), we announced our intent to celebrate diversity and promote tolerance through our support of the Australian Human Rights Commission (@aushumanrights) #itstopswithme initiative “RACISM. IT STOPS WITH ME.” As part of that call to action, we pledged to educate users on how to use social media safely and securely while projecting their authentic and genuine voices on Twitter as healthy, affirming alternatives to messages of racism and violent extremism.

As a company, we’ve continued to make significant strides in updating our products, policies, and processes to improve safety for our users, including updating our violent threats and abusive user policies to give us more latitude to pursue violations. @TwitterAU has also supported a range of creative and impactful Australian initiatives that serve to combat racism and promote diversity.

The geopolitical environment and lexicon has shifted throughout 2015. When our Public Policy Vice President @ColinCrowell participated in the Regional Countering Violent Extremism Summit in Sydney in June, he helped shift the discussion from direct “counter speech” to the concept of providing “alternative narratives.”

We continue to encourage our users to provide antidotes to negative content through positive narratives, images, and memes. We believe the concepts of prevention and empowerment are ultimately more powerful anecdotes to combatting racism and intolerance in all of its forms, and have already seen the impact of these powerful narratives on Twitter.

We worked with NGOs and community groups to utilize the Twitter platform to deliver those positive and authentic messages that animate their organisation, culture, religion, or philosophy. We’ve done this by offering a series of trainings across Australia that, “Promote Tolerance & Diversity on Twitter.”

Our Promoting Tolerance & Diversity Workshop initially debuted in Sydney to a high calibre audience of local and national NGOs.

@HighResolves attended the Sydney workshop and engaged in a roundtable discussion about their efforts in the educational space. Through their in-school Global Citizenship and Leadership Programs, High Resolves encourages students to develop the mindsets, skills, and confidence to become purposeful “digital citizens” — not only in their schools but also in the wider community. The team was able to think critically about how social media could help further amplify their messages and re-connect the more than 100,000 students who had already completed the programme.

In partnership with @AFLDiversity, @TwitterAU extended the training workshop to Melbourne. The @AFL’s Ali Fahour (@AliFahour) and Kashif Bouns (@KashifBouns) kicked off the workshop to 45 participants by discussing the AFL’s community outreach through their Multicultural Program. Using sport as a vehicle to encourage social inclusion, @AFLDiversity is leveraging its experience in engaging with the indigenous community and extending its positive influence in the Muslim community by supporting the efforts of football players like Bachar Houli, who serve as constructive role models for young people around Australia.

Social media for social inclusion: Tolerance and Diversity Training

Photograph by Paul Jeffers. Pictured (Left to Right) Julie Inman Grant, Twitter; Dr. Anne Aly, People Against Violent Extremism; Ali Fahour, AFL; Kashif Bouns, AFL & Maria Catanzariti, Twitter.

In Melbourne, our special guest speaker was Dr. Anne Aly (@AnneAzzaAly), Founding Chairperson of People Against Violent Extremism (@peopleagainstVE) (PaVE), Associate Professor at Curtin University, and nominee for Australian of the Year 2016.

Social media for social inclusion: Tolerance and Diversity Training

Photograph by Paul Jeffers. Dr. Anne Aly, People Against Violent Extremism

Dr. Aly highlighted that society as a whole is a vital player in conflict resolution and building resilience towards those elements that cause social disharmony and violence. She cautioned against the promotion of an “us vs. them” mentality and talked about the role of social media in enhancing social inclusion whilst putting forth positive narratives.

We then presented the training followed by some hands-on workshop that generated valuable discussion and key take-aways for the NGOs and experts alike.

@TwitterAU’s next Tolerance & Diversity Workshop will be held in Canberra at the Australian National University (@anu) on 14 October from 10am – 2pm. Come join us at the training as we promote social inclusion and social cohesion on social media through #TwitterForGood!