To tackle false information Twitter introduces Birdwatch

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In a blog, Twitter Vice President, Product Keith Coleman wrote that Birdwatch allows people to identify misinformation in tweets

Social media company Twitter has introduced Birdwatch, a community-based approach to tackle misinformation on the platform. Birdwatch has initially been rolled out on a pilot basis in the US.

In a blog, Twitter Vice President, Product Keith Coleman wrote that Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context.

Twitter believes that this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable. “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,” Coleman stated.

In the first phase of the pilot, notes will only be visible on a separate Birdwatch site. On this site, pilot participants can also rate the helpfulness of notes added by other contributors. These notes are being intentionally kept separate from Twitter for now. Additionally, notes will not have an effect on the way people see Tweets or our system recommendations.

“To date, we have conducted more than 100 qualitative interviews with individuals across the political spectrum who use Twitter, and we received broad general support for Birdwatch. In particular, people valued notes being in the community’s voice (rather than that of Twitter or central authority) and appreciated that notes provided useful context to help them better understand and evaluate a Tweet (rather than focusing on labelling content as  “true” or “false”). Our goal is to build Birdwatch in the open, and have it shaped by the Twitter community,” Coleman added.

Twitter is also taking significant steps to make Birdwatch transparent. For example, all data contributed to Birdwatch will be publicly available and downloadable in TSV files. The social media platform will also publish the code publicly that will power Birdwatch in the Birdwatch Guide.
“We hope this will enable experts, researchers, and the public to analyze or audit Birdwatch, identifying opportunities or flaws that can help us more quickly build an effective community-driven solution,” Coleman noted.

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