Twitter unveiled a new feature Monday that will allow users to “add context” to other people’s tweets in order to “combat misinformation.”
Birdwatch allows users to add annotations to other people’s tweets, highlighting parts that they believe are incorrect and provide “informative context,” Twitter said in a blog post.
Users can annotate each tweet one time, and no post is exempt from being annotated, according to a Fox News report. The feature also allows users to cite sources in their annotations. (RELATED: REPORT: Twitter Locks China’s US Embassy Out Of Twitter After Post Touting Birth Rate Decline Among Uighurs)
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) January 25, 2021
“People come to Twitter to stay informed, and they want credible information to help them do so,” said Twitter’s Vice President of Product, Keith Coleman. “We apply labels and add context to Tweets, but we don’t want to limit efforts to circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention.”
“We also want to broaden the range of voices that are part of tackling this problem, and we believe a community-driven approach can help,” he added.
The goal of Birdwatch is not to be used as a tool to label tweets as true or false, the Big Tech giant said. Instead, notes are intended to provide “useful context” to help users better understand a post. (RELATED: Twitter Says Lincoln Project Tweets Do Not Fall In ‘Abusive Behavior’ Category)
When the pilot begins, notes will only be available on a separate page. Pilot participants will have the opportunity to rate other people’s notes on how helpful they were. Tweets with notes added to them will still look the same on a user’s timeline, and annotations won’t affect Twitter’s system recommendations, the company said.
Birdwatch launched its pilot program Monday and is currently allowing Twitter users to sign up. To be able to apply, users must have a verified email and U.S. phone number, a “trusted U.S.-based phone carrier,” two-factor authentication, and no recent violations of the Twitter rules. The company is choosing a small test group to begin, which they say will grow over time.
Twitter has not said when Birdwatch would be available for all users.