Twitter pilots “potentially messy” crowd-sourced fact-checking | Science & Tech News


Twitter has announced a new project that will recruit users of the social media platform to combat false and misleading tweets.

The company said, “We know this could be messy … but we believe this is a model worth trying out.”

The crowd-sourcing pilot program called Birdwatch is being tested in America and follows the criticism of social media companies in the wake of the Mob attack on the US Capitol.

The “community-driven approach” initially enables a select group of users to add notes that provide additional context to misleading tweets, with the aim that these notes help build understanding.

“It’s not a place for quick dunks,” warned the company.

The trial version is currently only available in the United States

These notes will initially be displayed on a separate Birdwatch website. Over time, however, the company plans to make the notes directly visible to its global audience on Twitter.

Twitter said it had more than 100 interviews with “people across the political spectrum” who had “broad general support for Birdwatch”.

“In particular, people appreciated that notes were in the voice of the community (rather than that of Twitter or a central authority), and appreciated that notes provide useful context for better understanding and rating a tweet (rather than yourself focus on marking content as “true” or false ‘).

“Our goal is to build Birdwatch openly and let the Twitter community design it,” said the company.

Birdwatch is supported by calculating a “smoothed helpfulness rating” for each grade. Twitter says “simply the percentage of reviews that say the note is helpful, smoothed out by adding five to the denominator”.

“Of all the notes that received at least three ratings, the three best are rated as” currently rated helpful “according to the” smoothed helpfulness rating “as long as the” smoothed helpfulness rating “is at least 0.5.”

Users registered in the system can add a note to public tweets
Users registered in the system can add a note to public tweets

The move follows a controversy over the social media platform’s response to misinformation following Donald Trump’s presidency and the mob attack on the Capitol.

Although it 70,000 accounts blocked Twitter is linked to the far right conspiracy movement QAnon in the face of violence and is under additional scrutiny during Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.

The social media company and the Trump administration crashed repeatedly during the president’s final months in office, prompting the White House to push for changes to social media regulations.

The company has been accused of being censored by those sympathizing with Mr Trump and of failing to address its stimulating messages from critics.

Just days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, Twitter confirmed that it was permanently banning Mr Trump from its platform.

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