For the most part, misinformation handled on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have largely been at the discretion of the platforms themselves, where they typically link themselves with websites that are known to be reliable at sourcing real news and breaking down fake ones.
However, it seems that Twitter is testing out a new feature for its platform called Birdwatch, where it seems that it will rely on crowdsourcing to help identify and report misinformation. This was initially discovered back in August by researcher Jane Manchun Wong, and more recently the name “Birdwatch” was spotted by Matt Navarra.
Twitter is working on a moderation tool to monitor misinformations on Twitter
Moderators can flag tweets, vote on whether it is misleading, and add a note about it
(I made up my own note to show what it currently looks like) pic.twitter.com/YIa6zt58Fj
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 5, 2020
What this feature does is that it allows users to flag posts that might contain misinformation and users can then add their own notes to it. The idea behind it is that users can add more information about the tweet and why it might be fake. This will help take the load off Twitter’s hands and could be a more efficient way of identifying posts that contain fake news.
However, at this point in time it is unclear how this will work and if all users will be able to add notes, or if only a select few will be able to do so. The former could be more efficient, but it does seem like it could also be open to abuse. Either way, it’s an interesting approach and we’ll have to wait and see how it works if and when it gets rolled out to the public.