A New Way to Regulate Misinformation Online
Twitter is calling on users in the US to test its new feature, ‘Birdwatch,’ designed to address misleading information on its platform.
Being a mechanism for anyone to speak their mind, Twitter is both a hub for enlightening thought, and a space littered with falsehoods and fabrications. Often, when someone Tweets something containing misleading information, it is upheld by an army of Twitter users. As a result, it can become difficult to separate the factual from the fictitious.
This is where Birdwatch – defined as “a community-driven approach to addressing misleading information” – comes in.
Birdwatch allows you to create notes, via the ‘Contribute to Birdwatch‘ option, and add context to Tweets. The function asks, ‘Why do you believe this Tweet to be misleading?’ and gives you a selection of possible answers to choose from:
- In contains a factual error.
- It contains a digitally altered photo or video.
- It contains outdated information that may be misleading.
- It is a misrepresentation or missing context.
- It presents an unverified claim as a fact.
- It is a joke or satire that might be interpreted as fact.
You are then given the prompt, ‘if many believe this Tweet, it might cause…’:
- Little harm.
- Considerable harm.
After answering these questions, you can add your own short short paragraph explaining the evidence behind your choices. With this piece, you get the chance to help others who see the Tweet to understand what might be misleading or harmful about it.
Currently, this feature is enabled in the US for users to test out. For now, these notes won’t appear directly on Twitter, but anyone in the US can view them at: birdwatch.twitter.com.
Twitter hopes this new function will progress the journey towards fostering a more reliable, informative digital landscape by leaps and bounds. It will be interesting to see how effective Birdwatch is, and whether other platforms begin to create comparable functions.
Finally, for our previous #SocialShort, click here.