Twitter is recruiting 1,000 Americans to check tweets for truthfulness. Unpaid.
Since Monday, volunteers in the US have been able to register as voluntary fact checkers with the short message service Twitter. Similar to Wikipedia, tweets from popular users should be supplemented by crowd-based corrections and explanations. Twitter calls this project “Birdwatch”.
Contributors can add comments to Tweets that they think are misleading. Initially, the notes will appear on a separate page. Only after a test phase should they appear next to the tweets themselves.
With the community approach, the company is responding to critical voices that were raised after Donald Trump’s Twitter account was banned (now finally) . Beyond the question of whether Trump was spreading fake news or not, there was concern that a private big-tech company would decide for itself what is truth or a lie. It remains to be seen whether the community comment function, which is based on the practice of Wikipedia, will really help.
Experiment with scientific support
“Birdwatch allows people to identify information in tweets that they think is misleading and to write comments that provide an informative context,” said Keith Coleman, head of product development for Twitters, on the company’s blog. “We believe this approach has the potential to be quick to respond to misleading information and to add context that people trust and find valuable. Ultimately, we want the message right in the tweets for the global Twitter Make audiences visible when there is consensus from a broad and diverse group of contributors, ”writes Coleman.
He knows that there are a number of challenges in building such a community-driven system – starting with resistance to manipulation attempts to ensuring that it is not dominated by a simple majority or distorted due to the distribution of contributors. Therefore, an academic from the Laboratory for Radical Innovation for Social Change (RISC) at the University of Chicago will also work on Birdwatch. In addition, other social science and other academic perspectives should be taken into account