Twitter's 'Birdwatch' Feature Allows Users to Combat Online Misinformation
Twitter confirmed that is working on a new feature called "Birdwatch" that lets users warn each other about online misinformation.
According to Tech Radar, this Birdwatch is Twitter's way of intensifying efforts against online misinformation. On top of that, the company is also coming for tweets that can cause harm to its users.
Birdwatch will allow Twitter users to leave notes to tweets. They can also provide context so that online misinformation is avoided.
What We Know, So Far
There's still a lot left to uncover regarding Birdwatch. For starters, it's still unclear if it will be released to the public, said The Verge. But enough information has been leaked out for people to understand how the feature works.
As far as tech reports say, Birdwatch is still under development. Its release date isn't likely to come soon and would not be released ahead of the U.S. election.
How it Works
The tool was found back in August. As of late September, social media consultant Matt Navarra found a button leading to Birdwatch on one of his tweets.
A binocular icon will appear on tweets seen on a user's Twitter timeline. A drop-down menu will reveal the tweet's history of notes.
By Saturday, Birdwatch appeared to have its own mini survey as you're reporting a piece of misleading content. Wong also found the survey.
In the survey, users can even drill down on how much harm they believe a tweet may cause. It will pose questions as to why users believe a tweet may be misleading or not.
A box will ask for evidence in 580 characters or less. The notes left on tweets will serve as a public document to the tweet's authenticity.
So far, there is still limited information on who gets to provide notes. It could range from all users to only a select few who are allowed to do so.
As a reply to Wong's tweets, Twitter's own product lead weighed in. He said the company will share more about their plans soon.
As Election Day draws near and people depending more on the internet, online misinformation could spell disaster.
Various social media sites have expressed intentions to avoid misinformation and fake news on their sites. Last month, Facebook said it will ban political ads a week before election.
It's far too early to judge if Birdwatch will make a significant impact in the elections. People are still in the dark as to how Twitter's moderators and algorithms will act on the results.
The survey does appear to be different from Twitter's current reporting tools. Right now, the app only relies on categorizing content with a few button presses and hoping their moderation team acts accordingly.
This weekend, the Twitter received backlash for its plans to suspend users who hope for President Trump's death. Users found the move "hypocritical" of the company that claimed it was only enforcing policy that applies to everyone.
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