Spreading of misinformation and fake news on social media platforms has proven to be extremely dangerous. Despite several measures, platforms like Facebook and Twitter haven’t been able to combat it successfully. Now, Twitter has launched a new initiative to do so. Called Birdwatch, the new website will allow people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context. In a blog post, Twitter revealed that this is a pilot project as of now which has been launched in the US only.
Keith Coleman, vice product, product, Twitter said in the blog post that in this 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,” noted Coleman. Coleman explained that these notes are being intentionally kept separate from Twitter for now, while “we build Birdwatch and gain confidence that it produces context people find helpful and appropriate.”
Since it is a pilot project Twitter is hoping that it will enable experts, researchers, and the public to analyze or audit Birdwatch, identifying opportunities or flaws that can help it more quickly build an effective community-driven solution.
“We know there are a number of challenges toward building a community-driven system like this — from making it resistant to manipulation attempts to ensuring it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors. We’ll be focused on these things throughout the pilot,” Coleman said in the blog post.
Twitter didn’t reveal when the new site will be available to users across the world but said that “Our goal is to expand Birdwatch to the global Twitter community. We want anyone to be able to participate and know that the more diverse the community, the better Birdwatch will be at effectively addressing misinformation. We’ll draw on learnings from this initial test and, over time, scale safely.”