Twitter has recently announced the release of its Birdwatch program, a community-driven project aimed at addressing misinformation on the social media platform. Members of the program will be able to fact check tweets, adding context through notes when they believe they have identified misinformation.
Currently the program is in its infancy, and notes can only be viewed on a separate Birdwatch site, but Twitter aims to eventually have notes visible directly under the tweets they apply to for all users to see. On the Birdwatch website, pilot users can also rate the value of notes.
In a blog post, Twitter VP of Product Keith Coleman wrote that the company has interviewed over one hundred people with a variety of political stances, and generally received support for Birdwatch. Apparently, people particularly valued Birdwatch and its notes being a product of the community’s voice rather than that of some “central authority”. They also valued how it provided context that allowed them to better evaluate a tweet, rather than the tweet simply being labeled “true” or “false”.
The popular social media platform has previously taken steps to address misinformation on its platform during the US presidential campaign, labeling tweets spreading misinformation as misleading. It’s debatable as to how effective this was at curbing ex-US President Donald Trump, who ultimately had his infamous Twitter account permanently suspended.
Twitter says they want to make Birdwatch “transparent”. All data contributed to the program will be available and downloadable to the public through TSV files. The code for the algorithms that power the program will also be made available in the Birdwatch Guide.
Coleman wrote that Twitter understands the challenges that it may encounter creating a community-driven program like Birdwatch, and that the company will be focused on addressing them throughout Birdwatch’s pilot. “We know this might be messy and have problems at times, but we believe this is a model worth trying.” he wrote. Follow @Birdwatch on Twitter to stay updated on the program.