Twitter starts public testing of a content verification system called Birdwatch.
What is Twitter Birdwatch?
Birdwatch is a new Twitter system for data verification. At the moment it is in the closed testing phase, although in principle it should be possible to check its results for all users of the social network. At the moment the beta will be limited to 1,000 users who must be residents of the United States, and who will be able to add text notes to tweets.
By default, and at least for the time being, the annotations will not be displayed on Twitter, at the bottom of the messages they comment on. To be able to consult them, when participants start to make them, it will be necessary to access the Birdwatch home page, which will show, for each tweet that has been commented, those comments that have obtained a minimum of 500 likes or have also been retweeted at least 500 times.
This does not mean, however, that the notes with fewer ratings will be “lost”, although to access them it will be necessary to go to the Download Data section of Birdwatch, from which it will be possible to download a text file with a tsv extension that will show all the comments that beta participants have added to the tweets.
Volunteers who want to participate in this phase of Birdwatch must also have two-factor authentication enabled, to prevent their accounts from falling into the wrong hands and, importantly, those accounts must not have recently violated Twitter‘s rules. In other words, Twitter is looking for trustworthy personal profiles, thus avoiding the risk of bots, fake accounts, and other techniques commonly used to contribute to the spread of fake news.