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What is Birdwatch, Twitter’s initiative to combat misinformation


Last year Twitter announced the launch of a pilot project to combat disinformation based on community collaboration. Birdwatch, as it called this initiative, allows the community to identify information that they consider misleading in tweets and write notes that provide informative context.

A little over a year after the presentation of this project, the company shared the impact that this mechanism has had as well as some innovations that were incorporated based on these results and the feedback from the users involved in this pilot that included 10,000 collaborators.

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According to the results of a survey carried out in the United States, the majority of users found the notes made in the framework of Birdwatch useful. In this sense, it was seen that readers were 20-40% less likely to believe tweets identified as potentially misleading and that they had background notes than those that did not have that information.

These results led the company to expand the visibility of this initiative. Therefore, Starting today, a small, random group of users in the US will see Birdwatch notes directly in some tweets. They will also be able to rate those notes in order to add context that is useful for users with different points of view.

Now, what is taken into account to ensure that there is a diversity of opinions in those notes? From Twitter they explain that for a note to appear in a tweet it must have contributions from enough users with different perspectiveswhich is judged based on how those users have previously rated the notes and not just based on demographics.

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“When we started last year, we set out to build Birdwatch publicly, with contributions from Twitter people, contributors, academic advisors and researchers. We made all the data available to the public, along with a code that qualifies the notes, and we continue to do so”, they highlighted from the social network.

The improvements that were added to Birdwatch:

1. Strengthened how notes you find useful are identified people with a diversity of perspectives.

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two. Autogenerated aliases are used to make contributors feel more comfortable and secure in contributing notes.

3. Contributors are informed if their notes were marked as useful content or not by the community, with the aim of helping them understand the impact of their collaborations.

Four. Users are invited to include sources and clear explanations in your notes.

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5. Custom labels added with the legend “Your help is needed” to the notes that require a greater diversity of perspectives.

The social network has partnered with Reuters and the Associated Press to help the Twitter team better assess the relevance and quality of contributions made under Birdwatch.

The company also has a team of researchers and academics specialized in identifying disinformation, polarization, manipulation and harassment. They are advisers who come from MIT, the University of Washington and Michigan, among other entities.

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