Twitter is trying to find a way out of misinformation problems with its new product Birdwatch, which taps into a network of dedicated tweeters to annotate misleading tweets. Today, Twitter announced that they start making the birdwatch notes available to pilot attendees on iOS, Android, and desktop.
The company launched a pilot version of the program back in January, describing the effort as a way to put misinformation into context in real time.
“We believe this approach has the potential to react quickly when misleading information is spread and add context that people trust and find valuable,” wrote Product VP Keith Coleman in a blog entry back then. “Ultimately, we want to make notes directly visible in tweets to the global Twitter audience when there is consensus from a broad and diverse group of contributors.”
That time is apparently now for an early group of birdwatch pilot participants.
Twitter says that once birdwatch notes are added to a tweet, users will have an opportunity to rate whether the feedback is helpful or not. If none of the answers are found helpful, the birdwatch card itself disappears, but if notes are found helpful, they will appear right in the tweet.
There have been a lot of questions about how and if Birdwatch will work within the current social media framework. The use of community feedback is different from the more centralized efforts of platforms like Facebook that have tapped into independent fact-checking organizations. Twitter clearly aims to decentralize those efforts as much as possible and place power in the hands of Birdwatch contributors, but with the individual tweeter audience currently responsible for judging the usefulness and visibility of fact checks, it’s clear That this will be a beautiful thing sometimes becomes a messy solution.