Twitter has announced that Birdwatch, its crowdsourced fact-checking feature, is now available across the United States.
Birdwatch is a way for people to get a feel for the accuracy and reliability of content shared in a tweet and puts notes on tweets to help people make up their own mind. Now, all Twitter users in the United States can see those notes for the first time.
Twitter announced the move via a series of tweets, saying that it’s been “building and studying Birdwatch in public for over a year.” Over those tweets, it then explains how Birdwatch works. “Birdwatch works by using bridging-based ranking. Rather than majority rules, or popularity, Birdwatch shows notes that are found helpful by people who tend to disagree (in their Birdwatch ratings). This increases the odds that context added to Tweets is helpful to wide audiences.”
Twitter also shared a blog post explaining more about Birdwatch, noting that “Birdwatch is made up of independent contributors, and individual notes are never written by Twitter, Inc. This is intentional, as it helps ensure our efforts to address potentially misleading information are informed by a diverse group of people who use our service.”
There’s still no telling when we can expect Birdwatch to expand yet further, but its arrival across the United States is a good start.
If you use Twitter in the US, you’ll begin seeing notes occasionally in your Twitter feed starting today. But don’t expect to see them all the time — notes only show up when they earn a status of “Helpful,” and the contributor base is small (and growing). pic.twitter.com/oaO0fGlJoJOctober 6, 2022
Twitter’s explanation of how Birdwatch works is important because it uses its algorithm to try and find a consensus among people even across groups that would otherwise have different viewpoints. That means that Birdwatch is more than just the result of a vote, like a popularity contest. It should, in theory, also make it more difficult for people to game as a result.