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Twitter’s new ‘Birdwatch’ feature will let users to sift through and add notes to misleading tweets

26 Jan 2021

Katie Canales , Business Insider US Jan 26, 2021, 07:13 AM

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Twitter is launching a system to sift through and add notes to tweets that could have misleading information.
  • Users can apply to moderate the pilot “Birdwatch” system, through which they will be able to annotate tweets with context.
  • Twitter and other online platforms continue to face pressure in policing misinformation.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Twitter said Monday that it’s officially rolling out Birdwatch, a new feature designed to fight misinformation on its platform.

The “community-driven” service is a pilot programme, according to the company, and will enlist the help of volunteer online users who will vet tweets that they see as containing misleading information. The participants will be able to provide annotations that “provide informative context” to tweets, Twitter’s Product Vice President Keith Coleman wrote in a blog post.

Those notes won’t be visible to all Twitter users, nor will they affect how people view tweets, but will instead appear on a separate website. The company says it aims to eventually make the notes visible for everyone.

The programme is only available for a small group of participants in the US for now, and the Twitter users that qualify to be a participant must have a verified phone number and email address. They also must not have any recent notice of violating the company’s online policies.

“We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding contact that people trust and find valuable,” Coleman said in the blog post.

The move comes as Twitter and other online platforms continue to face public pressure for their role in false information spreading online. The pandemic and the 2020 presidential election saw that scrutiny mount, especially after pro-Trump extremists used Twitter and other social media websites to organize online before storming the US Capitol on January 6.

The rioters believed former US President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. After the insurrection at the Capitol, Facebook removed all posts referencing the “Stop the Steal” campaign.

Twitter began adding fact-check labels to Trump’s tweets in May in an effort to inform his millions of followers of the presence of misleading information. The tweets in question 

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