Birdwatch, the Twitter fact checker, is now rolling to pilot participants on iOS, Android, and desktop.
With that said, you can now learn how to check for fake news and misleading information using this new feature. Also, Birdwatch might bring recent changes that could affect the whole Twitter community.
Twitter stands as one of the best social media platforms for a few reasons. First, you can get information to audiences immediately through the hashtag system. Second, the interface is straightforward and simple. Lastly, you can easily seek and give feedback to other tweets. For these reasons, Twitter has one dynamic environment that promotes news, blog stories, journal articles, and other related multimedia content.
Unfortunately, Tech Crunch reported that Twitter is also a notorious hub for fake news and misinformation. This is because tweets spread faster than people can check on their validity. Twitter is working its way around this problem by crowdsourcing misinformation through Birdwatch.
How to Use Twitter Birdwatch
Twitter created a thread through their sub-account Birdwatch with the instructions on how to use the new feature. As of today, the feature is visible to pilot participants of their program. However, after the testing, the feature is expected to make its official release soon.
Hey there! Exciting news 🎉. Now, when you’re browsing Twitter on Android, iOS, or https://t.co/lEjTtR4BGM, you may see Tweets with Birdwatch notes. Notes will appear in a card on the Tweet. Right now, this feature is only visible to pilot participants. pic.twitter.com/dyMHgawLUl— Birdwatch (@birdwatch) June 2, 2021
When the new feature is added, Birdwatch will show as extra notes pinned on a specific tweet. These notes will provide helpful information or context regarding the tweet.
You would be given the option to rate these Birdwatch notes as helpful or not. If the Birdwatch is not rated as helpful, the note would be taken down from the tweet. However, you can still view the contents of the note by clicking the Birdwatch icon at the bottom of the tweet.
One tweet could have multiple Birdwatch notes. The Birdwatch note with the highest "rated helpful" will be pinned below its respective tweet.
Birdwatch Tool to Fact Check
Although Twitter Birdwatch is a new feature, the system of using community-based feedback to validate information is found in both Wikipedia and Reddit. Both Wikipedia and Reddit have successfully used the feature, but it is uncertain if Twitter will do the same. This is because Twitter puts a lot of emphasis on the community voice instead of a centralized authority, similar to Facebook.
When the feature was first introduced in January, Birdwatch gained a lot of negative feedback on its system. A YouTube video from The Hill said that the "New Fact-Checking Feature Is A DISASTER All Around." The report concluded that leaving the fact-checking rights to the Twitter users will only make the whole community a lot worse because of the risk that people will continue to support wrong information instead of the truth.
There is time left before the Birdwatch feature will be added to the Twitter system. While reports come in that the new feature could bring both good and bad results, the overall success of the fact-checking feature would be left in the hands of the Twitter community.