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Twitter Launches Birdwatch Tool, Allowing The Community To Participate In Curbing Online Misinformation

Twitter's latest attempt at curbing online misinformation is entitled Birdwatch, and will rely on community-based crowdsourcing.

Attempting to combat misinformation on social media's sort of an uphill battle. There's only so much developers can do with platforms that are ever-expanding, and cater to millions of active, opinionated individuals. Never was this weakness felt more greatly than during 2020. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed as if every conspiracy theorist had their own spin on the facts. This naturally spelled trouble, especially for those individuals looking to gain a factual view of the pandemic's proceedings.

In lieu of that, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter got to work. Links were attached to all COVID-related posts, guiding users to reliable sources of information such as the CDC and the WHO. Posts with incorrect information were often taken down, with the propagating account's reach being restricted. In extreme cases, the ban hammer was flung at individuals not learning from their mistakes. However, there would always be more lurking around in every other corner. And the banned individuals would simply come back with newer accounts.

This dangerous misinformation is currently at an all-time peak, as the anti-vaccination movement's actively opposing the new COVID-19 vaccines. Discouraging individuals with fabrications circulated via tweets and WhatsApp messages, this poses a big threat to ever controlling the pandemic. Therefore, it seems that Twitter has been incensed to take even more proactive measures against one misinformation in the community. And for that very process, it'll be recruiting from the community.

Birdwatch is Twitter's latest crowdsourced project, with the aim of combatting online misleading information. The tool was announced via a blog post, which frames it as a context providing medium. Essentially, Birdwatch will allow users to attach notes to tweets that carry misleading information. The notes will serve to provide further context, either clearing up the author's intention, or simply falsifying their information.

As of yet, the Birdwatch notes aren't accessible for all the Twitter users. Instead, they exist in pilot form on a different website entirely. Members of the Twitter community can sign up, and start attaching notes to tweets. Users are also encouraged to rate each other's notes, providing more insight into this project's long-term success. While this may just be a test run, the project itself is expected to launch soon.


Read next: Twitter is planning to help its users to avoid fake news on the platform by introducing 3 different types of caveats labels

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