Twitter launches #39;Birdwatch#39; to combat misinformation


Twitter Inc. has launched a pilot program called Birdwatch that will allow users to flag tweets that they believe are misleading and write notes to provide context. Birdwatch is currently for people in the US.

“Birdwatch participants can identify Tweets they believe are misleading, write notes that provide context on the Tweet, and rate the quality of other participants’ notes,” the company said in its blogpost.

“Currently, Birdwatch is in pilot mode for people in the US. We’re building it in the open, with the public’s input, and we’re taking significant steps to make Birdwatch transparent,” it further said.

Twitter has always been active in adding labels and warnings about misinformation on the site, say it about the COVID-19 pandemic to US elections 2020 and Donald Trump.

The program will initially start with 1,000 users and eventually expand beyond the US.

“Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading or false, and write notes that provide informative context,” Twitter Vice President of Product Keith Coleman wrote in a press release.

“We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable.”

Even though only pilot participants can write and rate notes, anyone in the US can access the Birdwatch site to browse contributions. Additionally, all data contributed to Birdwatch will be publicly available and downloadable.

“As we develop algorithms that power Birdwatch — such as reputation, consensus, and ranking systems — we also aim to make them publicly available,” the company informed.

“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,” said Coleman in the blog post.

Here’s how you can write a Birdwatch  notes: 

Anyone in the US need to signup Birdwatch notes, and only pilot participants can add new notes to Tweets. Here’s how to add a note:

  1. Click or tap the ••• menu on the Tweet’s top right and then Contribute to Birdwatch.
  2. Before starting, you’ll see a reminder about Birdwatch values — a prompt to promote helpful contributions.
  3. Answer the required multiple choice questions. These are designed to understand, in a structured way, why a Tweet might or might not be misleading.
  4. Finally, in the text field, write the context you feel would help others understand why that Tweet is or is not misleading. Citing sources is helpful.
  5. After it’s submitted, the note will be available on the Birdwatch site for other participants to read and rate.
  6. You can delete your notes at any time by clicking or tapping the ••• icon on a note.