My times today.
Last week, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, and Vijaya Gadde, legal, public policy and trust and safety lead at Twitter, hosted an off-the-record meeting with seven women at the Twitter office in Delhi. The objective of the meeting was to hear Indian women’s experiences of using Twitter as a platform to highlight their opinions and the problems they faced with respect to online harassment.
I attended the meeting with six other women, including journalists and activists, on invitation from Twitter. During the course of the meeting, several important points were raised, including the serious issue of Twitter falling short of addressing sexual harassment, loosely termed as trolling, on its platform. It’s important to note that while some of us knew each other from before, many of us met for the first time on the panel. We each took turns describing our individual experiences on Twitter, including our positive experiences, while Dorsey and the Twitter team listened intently and patiently.
While each of the women shared their own experiences of handling abusive speech or threats, a Dalit rights activist spoke about her experience of being pushed out of the platform by trolls and being doxxed. She spoke about the everyday battles of Dalit men and women fighting casteist slurs on Twitter and how there’s no concrete way of reporting these because the reporting list, as of now, do not account for casteist slurs. The Twitter team took note of this and acknowledged it as a problem.
Each one of us highlighted the gaps in Twitter’s algorithm in addressing abusive trolling. At the end of the meeting, the Dalit activist who was part of the discussion, gifted the Twitter CEO a poster which he (Dorsey) held while posing for a group photo. The photo was clicked by a Twitter India employee and which we were given permission to share. Some of the panelists were reluctant to post the group photo in public while others exercised their agency in sharing it. Most weren’t even aware that the poster, gifted moments ago, was in the frame. But at no point was any of the Twitter team members asked to acknowledge the poster or share it. It was their choice alone. It wasn’t a private photo as suggested. We were frankly heartened by the positive and empathetic response we received from the Twitter team in actively listening to our concerns and promising to act on them