Twitter is reportedly working on a new method to fight misinformation and disinformation campaigns that are common on social media platforms. The Twitter ‘Birdwatch’ feature could allow users of the micro-blogging platform to report suspicious Tweets with possible incorrect or misleading information. These ‘flagged’ tweets would then be accompanied by a small ‘Binocular’ icon quickly indicating the need for more context.
The Twitter platform could soon get a new ‘Birdwatch’ feature that is clearly meant to arrest the rampant generation and propagation of Tweets which often contain deceptive or inaccurate information. The feature could provide more context for tweets in the form of notes. Tweets could be added to Birdwatch, which means they would be flagged for moderation and possible scrutiny.
Twitter Working On ‘Birdwatch’ Tabs and Notes To Combat Misinformation Tweet Campaigns:
Twitter could soon deploy Birdwatch on a trial basis for a select number of users. It is not clear if the feature will be deployed in certain regions. However, given the fact that the American Voting machinery is about to go into action soon, it is quite likely that Twitter might choose to deploy Birdwatch in the US first.
Twitter is working on a moderation tool to monitor misinformations on Twitter
Moderators can flag tweets, vote on whether it is misleading, and add a note about it
(I made up my own note to show what it currently looks like) pic.twitter.com/YIa6zt58Fj
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 5, 2020
The Birdwatch feature was first uncovered earlier this year. It is clearly in its early stages of development. Although the name appears to be recent, the feature offered an interface for flagging tweets, voting on whether or not the tweet was misleading, and adding a note with further explanations. Following the revelation, Twitter updated its web app and removed mentions of the feature. The same feature has now resurfaced in Twitter’s software code.
— ⌗ChrisMessina (@chrismessina) October 1, 2020
Birdwatch essentially allows users to tag or flag a Tweet as inappropriate. The feature can also allow users to offer more information possibly proving the Tweet contains incorrect or misleading information. The feature will include a new tab called “Birdwatch Notes”. This tab will be added to Twitter’s sidebar navigation which currently contains features such as Lists, Topics, Bookmarks, and Moments.
The Birdwatch Tab will also allow users to keep track of their own contributions which could be called “Birdwatch Notes”. Birdwatch will allow users to attach notes to a Tweet. These notes can be viewed by clicking on the binoculars button on the tweet itself. The small binoculars icon will appear on the Tweet after it is flagged or tagged. The additional context associated with the Tweet would be open to the public.
Who Will Get Access To Twitter Birdwatch Feature?
While the Birdwatch feature could be very useful, it is not clear how Twitter will deploy the feature and who will have access to the same. It is quite apparent that Twitter might not allow anyone to annotate tweets with additional context. But it is not clear if users will be required to seek permission or if the Birdwatch feature will be opened to select users or fact-checkers.
It appears the “Birdwatch Notes” are referred to as “contributions,” in the Twitter’s software code. This suggests the feature relies on crowdsourcing information. Simply put, Twitter’s Birdwatch feature could be yet another moderation technique that depends on user-contributed additional context to Tweets.