According to a story published by NBC News’s Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, Twitter is launching a crowd-sourced feature intended to combat slander and misinformation in a similar way that Wikipedia flags potentially misleading tweets.
The new system will allow users to “discuss” and “provide context” to tweets that “they believe to be misleading or false.”
Per NBC, the new project, called “Birdwatch,” is a standalone section of Twitter that will at first only be available to a small set of users, largely on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead of giving priority to real fact-checkers, users will be required to use an account tied to a real phone number and email address.
“Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading or false, and write notes that provide informative context,” Twitter Vice President of Product Keith Coleman wrote in a press release. “We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable.”
Initially, participants will label tweets as accurate or inaccurate. Those ratings are then assembled into a Birdwatch profile, which will be separate from a Twitter profile, not unlike Reddit’s user-rating system. Twitter said it hopes to build a community of “Birdwatchers” that can eventually help moderate and label tweets, though initially labels created through Birdwatch will be private.
Growing pressure demanding that Twitter do something about the “rampant misinformation” on the platform recently led to Twitter (and, unrelatedly, Facebook) banning former President Trump and many of his allies from the platform.
Twitter told NBC News (which first reported on the program months ago) that it had been encouraged by early trials of the program.