Twitter is transforming into a free-speech platform while keeping fact checking at the forefront.
- Elon Musk has been working hard to change Twitter and has introduced many new features including a fact-checking feature—Community Notes.
- Community Notes was formerly known as Birdwatch and was created to put a stop to the spread of false or misleading information on the platform.
- The feature works by adding a note from Twitter users under a tweet to explain the context and tell users if the Tweet is misleading in any way.
- The feature has been used under numerous tweets including some by owner Elon Musk.
Why it’s news
Elon Musk paid $44 billion to acquire Twitter in hopes to make the platform an app that is dedicated to free speech. He has been continuously making changes to Twitter to align with his vision including adding a plethora of new features.
While Musk states that he wants Twitter to focus on free speech he also says he wants information on the platform to be reliable.
“Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world,” Musk Tweeted. “That’s our mission.”
In an effort to make the information on Twitter more reliable he has focused on the feature Community Notes. The feature, previously known as Birdwatch, adds notes submitted by Twitter users under a tweet to explain what is said in the tweet and if it is misleading.
Any Twitter user that has had an account for longer than six months can sign up to contribute to Community Notes. All that has to be done is the user must provide a verified phone number from a U.S. carrier.
Before a note is added to a tweet it is screened by other contributors. The contributors must vote if the note is helpful by clicking “yes,” “no” or “somewhat.”
There have been many questions on how Community Notes will work and if it will be misused by Twitter users.
To avoid any problems with users adding unnecessary notes the notes are screened by an algorithm run by Twitter that compares each note to others that were voted as helpful by users.
Notes that are passed by the algorithm are then added to the Tweet with a disclaimer that reads: “Readers added context they thought people might want to know.”
Other concerns lie in the fact that the system only works if there are users who are willing to maintain it. So far the feature has had plenty of people jumping to add notes to tweets and the hope is that they will continue to do so in the future.