Twitter has a new experimental tool to tackle misinformation called 'birdwatch'. Matt Navarra has shared screenshots of what the new feature looks like in its current form.
As reported by Engadget, this new feature is set to be added to Twitter in the coming weeks. It will become an option in the drop-down menu where Mute, Block and Report buttons currently exist.
Social media companies are all facing a difficult battle to fight misinformation on their platforms. During election time, this is especially difficult which has led Google and Twitter to find new methods to tackle fake news.
Over recent weeks Twitter has issued hundreds of new bans in an attempt to curb the spread of misinformation. However, many feel that current actions have only led to limited success.
Twitter will hope that this new feature, 'birdwatch', will be the beginning of the fightback against misinformation.
Twitter posses new misinformation tackling tool
Birdwatch appears to be a way for users to flag tweets for moderation. Users can use the feature to flag any tweet but also add private or public notes as to why they did so.
If and when the feature gets implemented onto the site it will look like a pair of binoculars at the bottom of a tweet. This will show users Birdwatch notes about it.
The site will also add a new a new tab named “Birdwatch Notes”. This will allow users to keep track of their contributions on the new feature.
This feature was first noticed back in August but has science developed quite significantly since then.
Twitter confirms the purpose of 'birdwatch'
Twitter is yet to offer much in the way of firm details about Birdwatch. However, it has confirmed that tackling misinformation is the primary goal of the feature.
Clearly, the goal of the new feature is to essentially use crowdsourcing to help tackle misinformation. However, many have expressed worries that the nature of the feature will end up being counteractive to its goal. They feel birdwatch itself could be used as a tool of misinformation.
Some have pointed out that Twitter may only allow select users, such as verified experts or moderators to add birdwatch comments. This may help the feature act more credibly but would lose its wide reach.
It will be interesting to see how this feature operates if and when it does roll out to users. Overall, it is good to see Twitter taking proactive action against misinformation. However, this has also demonstrated the great challenges social media companies face regarding this issue.