Twitter testing ‘Birdwatch’ that lets users add notes to tweets for more context
Birdwatch appears to be a new feature Twitter is testing to help stop the spread of misinformation on the platform.
Twitter is working on a new product to help fight misinformation on its platform. It's called “Birdwatch” and it will display notes with more details about the tweet so users get more context.
This feature was first spotted by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong back in August, and screenshots of it have been shared by social media consultant Matt Navara. If a tweet has a Birdwatch note then a small binocular icon will appear next to it. You can tap on this icon to read notes that have been written about the tweet. There's also an “add to Birdwatch” option under the drop-down menu along with other actions like blocking or reporting the tweet.
New Twitter feature?— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) September 30, 2020
Any guesses what it does? pic.twitter.com/1vmpZdTKLi
Based on the screenshots provided, users can create Birdwatch notes for their tweets which others will get to read. There's also a “Birdwatch Notes” section placed under the Moments section in the sidebar menu. Here, users can keep a track of their Birdwatch notes. Initially it seemed like the Birdwatch feature could be restricted to fact-checkers but it looks like all users will be able to add notes to tweets.
It looks like another way of Twitter trying to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform. Birdwatch being a crowdsourced platform does raise many questions especially with possibilities of the feature being misused. Twitter is yet to announce this feature, and how exactly it will work.
Twitter is also planning to bring its ‘read the article before you retweet' prompt for all users soon. The prompt appears when users tap on the retweet button of a story they haven't actually opened and read. It started testing the feature in June this year, and it will be available globally soon.