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Twitter to Crowdsource Content Policing

Twitter unveils a new tool it is piloting to combat misinformation, Jan. 25, 2021. 

Twitter on Monday unveiled a new tool it is piloting to combat misinformation.

Called Birdwatch, the crowdsourcing tool aims to enlist other Twitter users to vet tweets they think contain misinformation.

Instead of deleting an offending tweet or having Twitter attach a warning label, users will be able to add annotations to the tweet to “provide informative context,” according to a Twitter blog post.

For now, the added notes will not be visible to all users, as the program is a pilot project with only a limited number of U.S. volunteers. The company would eventually like to have the notes visible to all.

"We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding contact that people trust and find valuable," Twitter wrote.

The move comes as social media companies face increasing pressure from those who say their platforms spread misinformation, and those who say they are too censorious.

Twitter’s approach differs from Facebook, which uses a team of third-party fact-checkers.

“We know there are a number of challenges toward building a community-driven system like this — from making it resistant to manipulation attempts to ensuring it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors. We’ll be focused on these things throughout the pilot,” Twitter said.