Message from Mahima Kaul, Director, Public Policy, India and South Asia, Twitter: “We understand our role as an essential service for both the government to communicate with citizens and for the public to stay connected with each other. We are ensuring that everyone on the service has access to the latest and credible updates as we all navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Online communities and conversations have never been more important and we are committed to protect and serve the public conversation and support the authorities as they navigate this unprecedented moment.”
For India specifically, we wanted to provide you with recent top-level updates around the work Twitter is doing. We’ll link to our blogs below so you can read more updates in detail.
Working closely with the Government of India and relevant stakeholders
We have open lines of communication with the relevant authorities in the central and state governments and public health officials, to ensure they can troubleshoot account issues, and seek strategic counsel as they use the power of Twitter to mitigate harm and connect with the public at large. We’re working with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, various State Governments to upskill various departments on COVID response management. We have also supported and enabled the Govt of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh to set-up dedicated COVID-Response accounts. Govt. of karnataka, Maharashtra; Follow them here: DIPR Karnataka, Maharashtra Control room, Jharkhand COVID Helpline, UP Covid helpline. We have also published a Twitter List of key police accounts on Twitter for latest and credible information on #Lockdown21. People can Tweet to them for any queries. A strong example of this was @DelhiPolice using the service to host a Tweet Chat, addressing public queries and concerns related to the Lockdown.
COVID-19 Search Prompt
Twitter is dedicated to ensure people have uninterrupted and real-time access to the conversations that matter. To this end, Twitter offers a dedicated COVID-19 search prompt. When people come to the service to search for related COVID-19 conversation, the search prompt offers content from credible sources such as national health agencies and the World Health Organisation (@WHO). To make the search prompt as useful as possible, Twitter has partnered with local agencies in countries across the world. In India, the search prompt directs people to the official Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (@MoHFW) and @WHO websites.
The feature is being constantly monitored by the Twitter team to ensure that all related keywords, including common misspellings, generate the proactive search prompt.
Dedicated Bilingual Events Page
Twitter has launched an events page dedicated to COVID-19 information. The page, called “Coronavirus Tweets from Indian authorities”, is essentially a timeline of Tweets from verified Indian officials such as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@narendramodi), Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) and other state and central ministers, as well as public health agencies. Launched in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (@MoHFW), this page is an attempt to share the latest facts from verified sources. Every account holder in India can see this page on the top of their home timeline. If someone has their settings set to Hindi, then they will see the same page with Hindi Tweets. The timeline also let’s people track developments around the latest social distancing and healthcare information.
WHO’s #SafeHands / #Handwashing Emoji and #SafeHandsChallenge
In partnership with the World Health Organisation (@WHO), Twitter launched a #handwashing emoji to create awareness around the importance of cleaning hands in the current time and emphasize the importance of ‘washing hands frequently’ to curb spreading of the virus. People can unlock the emoji using any of the following hashtags #handwashing, #SafeHands, #HandWashChallenge, #WashYourHands, #हाथधोलेना, #हाथकीसफाईमेंभलाई, #हाथधोयाक्या.
Twitter’s Public Policy team is connected directly to the WHO team to offer advice on how best to use the service to connect their critical updates with the world.
Fight against misinformation around COVID-19
We are committed to working with the Government of India and focused on protecting the public conversation. We have expanded our safety rules and broadened our definition of harm to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information. In addition to reports, we will enforce this in close coordination with trusted partners, including public health authorities and governments, and continue to use and consult with information from those sources when reviewing content. More information here.