Twitter’s announcement on making its user policies available in Indian languages such as Hindi and Urdu, comes close on the heels of changes in the site’s direct messaging system and update of its Violent Threat policies.
According to PTI (Press Trust of India) the move is aimed at encouraging informed usage of Twitter amongst the vast non-English speaking population of India.
To begin with, the move could be pegged as Twitter’s efforts to expand its user base in India, which as of now is limited to a mere 17 per cent of the internet population of the country (says a report by eMarketer, Japan). Nonetheless, 2015 is expected to see a growth in rate of Twitter users by 30.4 per cent – a number that can receive significant impetus from user policies in Hindi and Urdu.
When one moves closer to the development –timing for a localized approach couldn’t have been better.
Education is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the quality of life – Aga Khan IV
Let’s pursue this step by step.
When Twitter updated its direct messaging feature, a tiny voice in every responsible twitterati thought about prospective safety hazards. Spam messages requesting to be ‘frands’ on Facebook are depressing enough! To deal with the same on Twitter – a shame.
Secondly, Twitter is battling one of its biggest existential crisis. Right from extremist accounts promoting anti-humanity content or Kamal R Khan just being himself – Twitter is batting abusive content on daily basis. The micro blogging website deleted over 10, 000 accounts in 2014 and over 10, 000 accounts until April, 2015 alone. How does one put an end to this?
Educating users by offering policies in regional languages could be one of the best ways to get the wheel moving towards quality use of Twitter.
“I would say for India, we are more focussed on online safety. We are focussed on educating the users on how they can leverage Twitter as a medium to discover and receive content from sources that interest them and share content with others,” Twitter General Counsel, Vijaya Gadde in a quote to PTI.
Between, July to December 2014, Twitter received 41 account information requests from the Indian government out of which information was provided in 22 per cent of the cases. Twitter Education is definitely needed somewhere.
Ambiguous aftermath of 66 A
While government scrapping of 66 A is definitely an achievement, it still does not dilute the issues around lack of concrete laws dealing with cyber crime. Where is the line between personal point of view and hate speech? Self regulation could be one of the options – but India is still to go a long way on that front.
In this case as well, Twitter’s efforts towards giving users an understanding about what the micro blogging site stands for, seems like a legit option.
If being optimistic, it’s safe to believe that Twitter is trying to mend the loopholes in its Violent Threat policies and change in DM (direct message) by educating users. Nonetheless, how the website actually promotes the regional language policies will now make all the difference!