Twitter launches crowd-sourced fact-checking project

AP – Twitter is enlisting its users to help combat misinformation on its service by flagging and notating misleading and false tweets.

The pilot programme unveiled on Monday, called Birdwatch, allows a preselected group of users – for now, only in the United States (US) – who sign up through Twitter. Those who want to sign up must have a US-based phone carrier, verified email and phone number, and no recent Twitter rule violations.

Twitter said it wants experts and non-experts to write Birdwatch notes. It cited Wikipedia as a site that thrives with non-expert contributions.

“In concept testing, we have seen non-experts write concise, helpful and easy-to-understand notes, often citing valuable expert sources,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Twitter, along with other social media companies, has been grappling how best to combat misinformation on its service. Despite tightened rules and enforcement, falsehoods about the US presidential election and the coronavirus continue to spread.

But if the effort is to work, Twitter will have to anticipate misuse and bad actors trying to game the system to their advantage.