Twitter is expanding its Birdwatch program ahead of the next US elections

twitter is expanding its birdwatch program ahead of the next.jpg
twitter is expanding its birdwatch program ahead of the next.jpg

More volunteers should comment on questionable tweets. Through a new rating system, they must first earn their active contribution opportunity.

In the United States, around 15,000 volunteer fact-checkers are currently annotating questionable posts by popular Twitter users in order to warn against misinformation and disinformation more frequently. Twitter now wants to massively expand this “birdwatch” program. 1,000 new volunteers are expected to join each week, but they have yet to earn their comment opportunity to avoid abuse. And significantly more US Twitter users should see the fact checkers’ posts.

Before a Twitter user can see the Birdwatch comments on a tweet, the comments must have the endorsement of other volunteers, so they must be self-assessed for facts and usefulness. The renowned news agencies are also among the auditors of the Birdwatch comments Reuters and Associated Presshow Techcrunch reports.

The Birdwatch program is open to volunteers in the United States who may comment on verified Tweets in either English or Spanish. Twitter checks the people against a verified phone number from a US cell phone provider. You must also have been registered with Twitter for at least six months and not have recently broken any of Twitter’s rules.

The Birdwatch participant starts out loud Twitter’s blog post at level zero and can work your way up by rating other Birdwatch comments as “helpful” or “unhelpful”. Once the fifth level has been reached, which should be reached within a week, he or she can write their own comments on tweets. Your own rating can also be expanded afterwards with your own tweet comments that have been classified as helpful and the rating of other bird watch comments from other participants. However, if your comments are repeatedly rated as “unhelpful,” you may be demoted and even temporarily lose the ability to contribute comments.

As the Birdwatch program expands, Twitter is also increasing the visibility of Birdwatch comments on individual tweets that have been deemed helpful. The Birdwatch annotations should be shown to about half of all US Twitter users.


(Picture: Twitter)

Twitter emphasizes that Birdwatch is not explicitly targeting disinformation ahead of the midterm elections on November 8, 2022. In the so-called midterms, all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and about a third of the 100 seats in the US Senate are up for vote. The ruling Democrats could lose their majority in both houses. Twitter has introduced rules for misinformation.

Twitter launched the Birdwatch project with voluntary fact checkers for self-regulation in early 2021. After a test phase, Twitter has been showing some users fact check notifications since this spring. The Birdwatch system is now ready for large-scale use after it had already proven useful in the pilot phase, according to Twitter.

For example, Twitter found that users are 15 to 35 percent less likely to like or retweet a tweet when a Birdwatch note is attached. This would curb the spread of potentially false or disinformation.