Twitter’s new ‘Birdwatch’ feature is aimed to combat misinformation and to provide more context for tweets in the form of ‘Notes’

Back in August 2020, Jane Manchun Wong, a famous reverse engineer unearthed a new feature’s interface that Twitter was working on. As per her, this feature was meant to flag tweets and allow users to vote on tweets whether they are misleading or not. Wong mentioned that this feature would also allow the users to add a note to further explain about the tweets they find misleading.

Recently, social media consultant Matt Navarra also shared some tweets and screenshots about this feature, and now, the company itself has confirmed that they are developing a new product called ‘Birdwatch’ to combat misinformation and misleading tweets, while allowing the users to add their notes and provide more context to those tweets.

So, it is supposed to work in this way that users can find the Birdwatch icon in the drop-down menu of a tweet, where other reporting and moderation tools can also be found. Users can add a tweet to Birdwatch and they will find some relevant information about that tweet.

A small binoculars icon also appears on the tweets published on the Twitter Timeline. When users click on this icon, they will be directed to an interface that will show them the history of notes related to that tweet.

A new tab called ‘Birdwatch Notes’ will also be added to Twitter’s navigation bar on the side, where other features like Lists, Topics, Moments, and Bookmarks also appear. Users can find their notes, their contributions in the Birdwatch Notes tab.

Twitter has not completely explained how Birdwatch Notes will exactly function. And whether every user will be allowed to contribute through their notes on tweets, or the task will be designated to specific people, fact-checkers, etc.

Recently, this feature was spotted in Twitter’s code on iOS, and it further established that Birdwatch will allow users to attach notes to a tweet, and these notes can be viewed by clicking on the binoculars icon present over the tweet. But still, the question remains if the notes can be added by everyone or just by some specific people.

However, some line items found in Twitter’s code suggest that these ‘Birdwatch Notes’ are probably going to be a part of a crowdsourced system. Still, nothing can be said with absolute surety, but even if it is like that, moderation through crowdsourcing is not new for Twitter and Twitter users, owing to Twitter’s Periscope, which is a live-streaming app and which relies on crowdsourced moderation techniques already.

Although Twitter has not provided any explanation about the product, they have just commented that they are exploring different ways to combat the serious issue of misinformation and propaganda. And while doing so, they are going to provide users the opportunity to add more context to tweets.

According to a new discovery by Jane Manchun Wong Twitter's BirdWatch Community Form will allow users to elaborate whether a tweet or its content is misleading or manipulated. Twitter can ask different questions to collect more signals regarding the authenticity of a tweet, including "If this tweet were widely spread, its message would likely be believed by few or many user." and "If many believe this tweet, it might cause little or considerable harm".

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