Twitter has begun trialling a community-driven approach to identifying fake news and misinformation on its platform as it looks to more effectively deal with the high levels of false and misleading information circulating.
With ‘Birdwatch’, Twitter users are able to identify information in tweets that they believe is misleading and write notes to explain why. Eventually, once there is a broad consensus, Twitter will make these notes visible directly on the problematic tweets.
“People come to Twitter to stay informed, and they want credible information to help them do so,” said Keith Coleman, Vice President of Product at Twitter, in a blog post. “We apply labels and add context to Tweets, but we don't want to limit efforts to circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention. We also want to broaden the range of voices that are part of tackling this problem, and we believe a community-driven approach can help.”
For now, in its initial pilot phase, the feature is only available in the US and notes will only be visible on a separate Birdwatch site. Here, participants will be able to rate the helpfulness of the notes added by other contributors, but notes will not have any impact on how people see tweets or recommendations.
Twitter is also promising transparency from its Birdwatch feature by making all data publicly available and downloadable in TSV files and publicly publishing any code that goes into Birdwatch on GitHub.