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Birdwatch on patrol at TwitterINTL

Birdwatch on patrol at Twitter

Twitter (TWTR) unveiled a new feature that is set to make waves – a community-based fact-checking network called Birdwatch (let’s all just agree that this is a pretty awesome name). The new system will allow the social media platform’s users to essentially become moderators by fact-checking other people’s tweets and adding notes to them.

Users who have not recently violated Twitter’s guidelines can sign up for the program and their notes will be available on a separate website (for now, although the plan is to have them available on the platform itself once the company is able to rate and identify users’ helpfulness).

The goal is to have Birdwatchers go beyond dubbing a statement true or false and provide context and nuance to a certain tweet or topic as a way to push forward public debate.

Twitter’s shares were trading around 4.5% higher on Tuesday after this announcement was dropped in the news.

why it matters
Twitter has come under heavy fire in the past (most recently during the US presidential elections) due to its failure to handle factually-wrong content (aka fake news). Through Birdwatch, Twitter is allowing its community to be a part of a bigger discussion without having to be responsible for fact-checking every single tweet in the Twittersphere – a method that was, at best, impossible.