Twitter Tests ‘Birdwatch’ Feature to Help Users Flag Misinformed Tweets

Twitter is test piloting “Birdwatch,” a new program that will enable Twitter users to fact check tweets they believe contain false information, according to Axios. The new feature is being tested out nationwide and will initially include around 1,000 people, according to The Verge.

Users will have to apply for the pilot program. Those who participate in it will soon be able to add information to the tweets in order to ensure they offer “informative context,” according to Keith Coleman, Twitter’s vice president for product. However, the information will not be available on Twitter itself, but only on Birdwatch’s separate website.

“We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable,” Coleman said in an online blog post. “Eventually we aim to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors.”

As part of the pilot, the selected Twitter users will also be able to rate information written by other participants in the program. The data provided on the Birdwatch website will be made public and available for download in TSV files.

Twitter plans to publish the algorithms that power the pilot program for public viewing in a “Birdwatch Guide” as well. However, Twitter executives admit there will be challenges to the community-driven effort, including the fact that some users may try to manipulate the program or attempt to use it to spread propaganda.