- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2021

Twitter is rolling out a new community-driven approach to combating misinformation on its platform. 

Alongside the company’s top-down approach of automated and manual content moderation, Twitter said Monday it was piloting a program, titled “Birdwatch,” that gives U.S. users some say in what is deemed misleading on the platform. 

“Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context,” wrote Keith Coleman, Twitter vice president, on the company’s blog. “We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable. 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.”

In an example of a tweet that could receive new attention through the Birdwatch program, Twitter shared a video from its @TwitterSupport account of a user tweeting the claim, “Whales are not real! They’re robots funded by the government to watch us!!” 

The video then shows users debating the merits of the claim about whales, including one user who is also skeptical of dolphins. 

Through the Birdwatch program, users are then able to create notes that help Twitter users understand that “whales predate governments” and the erroneous claims may have been a joke. 

Mr. Coleman wrote that the Birdwatch will initially only be available on a separate website, with data utilized in the program being made available for download. 

“We know this might be messy and have problems at times, but we believe this is a model worth trying,” Mr. Coleman wrote. “We invite you to learn alongside [us] as we continue to explore different ways of addressing a common problem.”

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