Twitter’s Birdwatch fact checks have started rolling out inside tweets
Twitter’s Birdwatch feature will help keep a check on misinformation on the platform. Read on to know how exactly it works.
In an effort to crack down on misinformation on the platform, Twitter is looking to crowdsource a solution with its new feature Birdwatch. Birdwatch taps into a network of engaged tweeters to add notes to misleading tweets. The platform has announced that they are rolling out Birdwatch notes to pilot participants on desktop, Android, and iOS. The pilot version of Twitter Birdwatch was launched earlier in January this year and the platform had described it as a way to add context to misinformation in real-time.
Hey there! Exciting news 🎉. Now, when you’re browsing Twitter on Android, iOS, or https://t.co/lEjTtR4BGM, you may see Tweets with Birdwatch notes. Notes will appear in a card on the Tweet. Right now, this feature is only visible to pilot participants. pic.twitter.com/dyMHgawLUl— Birdwatch (@birdwatch) June 2, 2021
Product VP Keith Coleman had explained in a blog post at that time that they believed the Birdwatch approach had 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 said. Now, the early set of Birdwatch pilot participants are ready to take the show on the road.
Twitter explains that once Birdwatch notes are added to any tweet, users will get a chance to rate whether the feedback was helpful or not. If none of the replies are rated helpful then the Birdwatch card is going to disappear. And if any of the notes are deemed helpful they are going to pop up right inside the tweet.
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Understandably there are a lot of questions about how and if Birdwatch is going to work in the current social media framework, as TechCrunch points out. Twitter is using community feedback instead of more centralised efforts used by other platforms like Facebook that brought in independent fact-checking organisations. Twitter is taking a different approach and is putting the power in the hand of Birdwatch contributors and letting audiences decide whether the feedback is helpful or not, which is also going to determine the visibility of fact checks. We’ll have to wait and see how this works out.