DUBAI: This month, Twitter MENA launched a new Arabic hashtag that translates as #TwitterSafetyCampaign as part of its activities to mark Safer Internet Day on Feb. 8.
The campaign is an extension of the platform’s Middle East and North Africa Safety Campaign, which began in 2019 with the aim of enabling and empowering users to identify and report spam.
“Through this MENA Safety Campaign, our priority is to ensure that the community is aware of the available solutions that will encourage a better experience for everyone on Twitter,” George Salama, the director of public policy and government relations for Twitter MENA, told Arab News.
The new campaign features several videos highlighting safety features to inform users about the tools that are available on the platform to help ensure a safer experience. Twitter also introduced a new emoji of hands cradling the world, triggered by the hashtag #SaferInternetDay.
The campaign also included a Spaces discussion session featuring speakers from diverse backgrounds who talked about ways to combat disruptive online behaviors, the first-hand experiences of public figures, and insights into the efforts Twitter is making to tackle abuse, misinformation and spam.
The session was moderated by radio host Dalal Al-Mhamad and the guests included Salama; Abdullah Alsabeh, who is a tech expert and influencer; Lujain Daghstani, a quality of life counselor and social activist; and Nermine El-Saadany; the regional vice-president of the Internet Society Middle East.
“The Internet has revolutionized the way we live our lives,” El-Saadany told Arab News. “However, it still remains a sort of ‘wild west’ in that anonymity can lead people to act differently than in the real world
“It is, therefore, crucial that we work together, as a community, to discourage harmful behavior and instead encourage positive change.”
Twitter’s campaign garnered support from celebrities and influencers such as actress and singer Rana Samaha, squash player Nour El-Sherbini and tech influencers Mohamed Hadaidi and Saad Al-Dhawi.
It was also endorsed by Dubai Police and non-profit organizations, including the Internet Society Middle East; SMEX, which defends the digital rights of people and communities in the MENA region; and 7amleh, which advocates for digital rights in Palestine.
“We have made meaningful progress in our efforts to promote healthy conversations and surface authoritative information on Twitter,” Salama said. “We’re committed to working with our partners in tech, government and civil society to continue this work to help build a safer internet.”
According to the most recent statistics from Twitter, the platform removed 4.7 million tweets that violated its rules between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2021. It also permanently suspended 453,754 accounts for violating its child sexual exploitation policy and 44,974 for promoting terrorism and violent organizations.
“We have clear policies in place on abusive behavior, hateful conduct and violent threats on the service,” Salama added. “This work is constantly evolving as new challenges emerge, and we recognize we have to work hard to stay ahead of those who intend to undermine the public conversation.”