Birdwatch on Twitter

Alyssa Greer , Journalist

Popular social media platforms

One of the most well known social media platforms, Twitter, with an estimate of over 330 million users, is now making an effort to stop the spread of misinformation, through community effort. With how big of a platform Twitter is, and how many voices carry through the app, it’s easy for incorrect information to be spread quickly throughout people and the internet. With this in mind, Twitter has recently announced a new project to prevent this issue named Birdwatch. This project will be reliant on users to flag false or misleading information they see.

The vice president of Twitter, Keith Coleman, has said that this project aims to, “broaden the range of voices that are part of tackling this problem.”

Birdwatch will be on a separate section on Twitter, enabling the project to start more privately for now. In turn, it still allows users to flag and identify tweets with incorrect information that could be harmful if spread throughout the platform. Participants of this project will be able to write posts breaking down misinformation they have found on the platform.

Twitter has previously added labels and warnings on misinformation, however this project will be expanding on this initial effort through the work of community. Although Twitter has plans to make it more public, notes written through this project will not be seen on the Twitter app yet.

“Eventually we aim to make notes visible directly on Tweets for global Twitter audience, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors,” states Coleman.

Although many difficulties may arise, Twitter is doing its best to combat these issues. To try and keep this new system as fair and unbiased as possible, the notes that will be made through the project can be rated on how true or helpful it was by the community.

“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 distribution of contributors,” says Coleman.

With big social media platforms where everyone has a voice, it can be very easy for misinformation to get spread and blown out of proportion. This has proven to be a problem, especially in these past few years with so much information, and news all at once. The Birdwatch project is a very useful system for platforms with thousands of voices.