Saturday, September 18, 2021

Twitter introduces Birdwatch, a feature to tackle misleading information

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Twitter said on Monday it was introducing Birdwatch, a community-based approach to misinformation. The program still at the first phase of the pilot in the US is open to only a small group of users.

According to a blogpost, Twitter said “Birdwatch” is a new community-driven approach to help address misleading information on Twitter. The social media firm wants it users to stay informed but with credible information at all times.

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Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and add notes to tweets to provide informative context. The notes provided useful context to help users better understand and evaluate a Tweet (rather than focusing on labeling content as “true” or “false”).

Twitter VP of product Keith Coleman wrote in a blog post. “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. 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. Additionally, notes will not have an effect on the way people see Tweets or our system recommendations.”

Important steps taken by Twitter to safeguard your data with Birdwatch

  • All data contributed to Birdwatch will be publicly available and downloadable in TSV files
  • During the development of algorithms that power Birdwatch (such as reputation and consensus systems ), twitter aims to publish the code publicly in the Birdwatch Guide. The initial ranking system for Birdwatch is available here.

Birdwatch uses the community contexts on tweets to decide misleading information rather than from Twitter or any singular institution.

Some users believe it isn’t a bad idea while others are against it – because they believe a group of users with more followers can push an agenda or what they want people to believe. Twitter users call it the “Mob rules”. But Twitter assured users that the new idea might be messy and have problems but it is a model worth trying.

The social media firm is aware of the challenges and put in place measures to avoid the system being dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors. Twitter will use the pilot phase to find solutions and plans to integrate social science and academic perspectives into the development of Birdwatch.

To participate in the pilot, participants must have accounts with a verified phone and email, a trusted U.S, based phone carrier, and no recent notice of Twitter rules violation. Users can sign up in this program with more details on how to apply here

Follow @Birdwatch for the latest updates and to provide feedback about the program.

Related article: Twitter rolls out new stories feature known as ‘fleets’ for users globally

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