As the big social media platforms trot out familiar misinformation policies ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Twitter is holding what could be a wild card. But it’s one the company is reluctant to play before it’s sure it has a winning hand.
Twitter’s experimental, crowdsourced fact-checking project, called Birdwatch, is quietly gaining momentum behind the scenes, and the company is gradually beginning to add new features and show it to more users, Twitter vice president of product Keith Coleman told The Technology 202. Internal research finds it is leading ordinary users to share less misinformation on the site, Coleman said.
The project, which lets ordinary Twitter users write fact-checking “notes” on others’ tweets and then rate one another’s notes as “helpful” or “not helpful,” has been brewing as a small beta test for 18 months, largely out of the public eye. After a year in which Birdwatch notes were visible only to a small group of volunteer participants, Twitter began showing some of the highest-rated notes to a test group of ordinary users in March.