Twitter is further expanding its community moderation program, Birdwatch, to all US users beginning today, the company announced.
Birdwatch, first announced in 2021, is one of Twitter’s attempts to curb misinformation on its platform by inviting users to contribute to the fact-checking process. The program allows a small group of Twitter users to add notes to potentially misleading tweets; the notes that are voted as helpful appear as context for the public to see. Birdwatch has been slowly expanding — now, helpful notes will be visible to all US users, though not everyone will be able to add context or rank other contributions.
In order for a note to appear on a tweet, it needs to be ranked as helpful by people who tended to disagree in their previous Birdwatch votes. Birdwatch contributors can lose their ability to write notes if too many of their additions are deemed unhelpful by others. As of September, Birdwatch had over 15,000 contributors — a drop in the bucket of Twitter as a whole but a group that the company says is growing. Users can sign up to be contributors, and Twitter looks for people who follow and interact with content that’s different than existing Birdwatch fact-checkers, among other requirements.
Twitter says it’s expanding Birdwatch notes to more people based on its own data showing notes can impact how users behave on the platform. People who see a context note are, on average, 15 to 35 percent less likely to like to retweet posts, Twitter says in its blog post.
Twitter’s crowdsourced fact-checking process has been in development for over a year and is in addition to other stopgap measures the company has introduced to combat misinformation and propaganda, like labeling false content and manipulated videos.
Though Twitter says the goal of Birdwatch is to gather a diverse array of perspectives into the moderation process, recent reporting suggests there are holes in how the company vets users: a leaked internal audit obtained by The Washington Post revealed a QAnon conspiracy account was allowed into the program, forcing Twitter to scramble last minute before launch.