Twitter introduces Birdwatch to let users flag misinformation

Twitter has introduced Birdwatch, a pilot in the U.S., to help users identify misleading information and flag them by writing notes that provide informative context about them. 

Trying to prevent disinformation on its platform, Twitter has been working on the Birdwatch system for a while.The company officially announced that it has introduced the Bridwatch feature with a tweet it shared yesterday. Birdwatch, a community-based verification system, gives new context to shared content by adding tags and descriptions to posted tweets.

Birdwatch, which was opened to users in the USA in the first place, will prevent the spread of misleading and false statements. Birdwatch contributors will detect false statements, add notes to the tweet, and report it quickly.

For now, these notifications appear on a Birdwatch-specific page under the Twitter structure, but not accessible to everyone. With the broad consensus of contributors, the notes posted in the tweet will be publicly posted on Twitter. 

The reason the specific notes and evaluations of the content were not shared publicly in the first place is that the company wanted to know whether it was actually producing useful content on Birdwatch.

Freedom of expression on Twitter’s platform has been widely debated after the Trump ban. So you may have questions about how Birdwatch will work. However, Twitter stated that in its feature focus it met more than 100 Twitter users from different segments of the political spectrum. 

The company says it wants the notes posted on Birdwatch to be the voice of the community, not Twitter or any other authority. In addition, Birdwatch data, which is planned to be public, will be available for download by experts and researchers, and more importantly, Birdwatch will be publicly audited.

“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.” Twitter said in a statement

The notes added to the tweets that spread disinformation will also be evaluated and scored by the community. 

As a result of all these democratic efforts, Birdwatch is also likely to be abused by spreading misinformation because of its community-based nature. Twitter is aware that Birdwatch can produce problematic outputs and may run into problems from time to time.Still, the company thinks this new control mechanism and operating model is worth a try.

Written by Maya Robertson

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