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Twitter Tweaks Its Fact Checking Program Called Birdwatch Before US Midterms

A recent report highlighted how the Twitter application had once allowed conspiracy theorists by mistake into its community, via an invitation.

And that news is certainly concerning for obvious reasons. But wait, it seems the app is keen on getting things back to normal. And it’s willing to do just that by making a few tweaks to Birdwatch, right before the US Midterm elections begin.

Today, Twitter went public about how it's going to make its fact-checking program available to so many others in the country, not to mention an array of changes that will take center stage.

This particular rollout is going to incorporate around 1,000 contributors each week, right before the elections begin. But if you think it’s going to work around the same rules as those outlined before, well, you’re mistaken.

In the past, contributors were given the chance to incorporate fact-checks to add more context to their posts. However, that won’t be happening anymore. Instead, you’ll have to earn that privilege if you’d like it.

To actually be a contributor that can produce notes on the app’s tweets, you need to first provide evidence that you’re actually capable of understanding helpful notes added by others. And for that, the app will allow every contributor a score that determines their ratings.



The scale starts at 0 and needs to attain a 5 to be a contributor for Birdwatch. And it’s not hard as experts claim after a week’s worth of hard work, you can get there. Users can get such points if they rate the notes based on if it's helpful or not.

Points are lost when they end up contrasting with what’s mentioned on the final status. Once that gets unlocked, they start adding contributions as well as fact checks and need to maintain that quality or face elimination.

Twitter is watching all of its contributors very carefully so it’s a tricky step to maintain that status.

Another important part of the system has to do with another term called bridging algorithms. This is definitely worlds apart from other algorithms seen on social media.

While most others are related to posts that gain the most views or target the intended audience effectively, this one has nothing of the sort going for it. Instead, it’s about finding consensus across different groups when clashes arise on debatable topics. This is done right before fact checks are performed by platform users.

Twitter’s Product Vice President says these changes are novel and haven’t been seen or done by others on different platforms. But the app certainly can’t take credit for this idea because it actually stems from the world of academic research.

Twitter adds that they’ve gotten a positive response after carrying out a series of pilot tests using this mechanism.

Other than that, this new system will work hard in finding agreements through various party lines. But many critics fear how this mechanism is actually going to work in reality.

There are never two truths. There is a truth and a side that people wish to make the truth but cannot. Hence, we’ll have to see how far this goes in putting the truth forward.

Read next: Twitter Begins Public Testing For Editable Tweets But It Comes With Limitations

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