Jan 25, 2021 - Technology

Twitter pilots feature allowing users to add context to misleading tweets

The Twitter logo and a phone in the foreground.

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter on Monday announced a new feature, called Birdwatch, aimed at combating misinformation and disinformation with a "community-driven approach" that allows users to add context to tweets they believe are misleading.

How it works: The new feature, which is being piloted in the U.S., "allows people to identify information in tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context," Twitter's vice president for product Keith Coleman wrote in a blog post.

  • The pilot is available in a separate section of Twitter to a small group of users who apply for the program.
  • "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,” Coleman wrote.

The big picture: It's the latest move by Twitter to grapple with misinformation and disinformation on its platform.

  • It's also an acknowledgment that Twitter needs help with monitoring content and that a possible solution lies in the "wisdom of the crowds," writes Axios' Ina Fried.
  • But there's also a risk of such systems being abused to target legitimate commentary from a minority view.

What they're saying: "We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable," Coleman wrote.

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