Twitter tests ‘Birdwatch’ to fight misleading information on the platform

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 26, 2021

Allows users to add notes to provide context on misleading tweets

Twitter is testing out a new feature called Birdwatch in a bid to combat misleading information on the platform.

It is the microblogging platform’s new community-driven approach to help address misleading information.

The feature allows users to identify information in Tweets as misleading and write notes to provide more context.

Pilot run

Birdwatch is currently being piloted in the United States.

“Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context. We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable,” Twitter explained in a blog post.

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Initially, the notes will be visible only on the Birdwatch website and not on Twitter itself. Pilot participants can also rate the notes on the basis of how helpful they are.

The social media major is planning to expand the feature to make these notes visible directly on the Tweets.

“Eventually we aim to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors,” it said.

“These notes are being intentionally kept separate from Twitter for now, while we build Birdwatch and gain confidence that it produces context people find helpful and appropriate. Additionally, notes will not have an effect on the way people see Tweets or our system recommendations,” it added.

Strong support

Twitter said that it had taken feedback from the community and has conducted over 100 qualitative interviews with individuals across the political spectrum who use Twitter for the same. The initiative has received broader support with many in favour of its community-driven approach.

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“All data contributed to Birdwatch will be publicly available and downloadable in TSV files. As we develop algorithms that power Birdwatch — such as reputation and consensus systems — we aim to publish that code publicly in the Birdwatch Guide,” Twitter said in a bid to increase transparency related to Birdwatch.

It has also provided the initial ranking system for Birdwatch. Notes will be shown in chronological order initially. If they get enough ratings and certain criteria are met, they will be pushed to the top as per the current system.

Published on January 26, 2021

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