How Twitter is Supporting a Community of Thought Leaders and Fact-Checkers



Through two new major efforts, Twitter hopes to create a community-driven approach to fact-checking and help writers that use the platform more easily engage with their audiences.


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According to the PEW Research Center, about four-in-ten (40%) Americans got their news from Facebook — and these numbers only continue to grow. With this, fact-checking groups and organizations continue to gain popularity all over the world and remain on the upswing as the line between opinion articles and credible sources have grown increasingly blurry over the last decade.

A community-approach to combating misinformation

In a new push to help address problem, Twitter introduced Birdwatch, a U.S.-only pilot of a community-driven approach to tackling misinformation on the platform.

“We apply labels and add context to tweets, but we don’t want to limit efforts to circumstances where something breaks our rules or receives widespread public attention. We also want to broaden the range of voices that are part of tackling this problem, and we believe a community-driven approach can help,” Vice President of Product Keith Coleman explained in the official announcement blog post.

How it works and creating transparency

Per the announcement, participants in Birdwatch will identify what they believe to be misleading information in tweets and write notes that provide informative context. These notes will only be visible on the Birdwatch site during the initial phase of the pilot, and other participants will be able to rate the helpfulness of those notes.

Coleman also clarified that once the beta phase is complete, the ultimate goal is to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, “when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors.” For now, the priority remains on building out Birdwatch and gaining confidence that the context it produces is helpful and appropriate.

In the meantime, Twitter is implementing proactive steps to ensure transparency in Birdwatch including:

  • Making all data contributed to Birdwatch publicly available and downloadable in TSV files.
  • Publishing code publicly in the Birdwatch Guide as the platform develops the algorithms behind the scenes.
  • The initial ranking system can be found here.

“We know there are a number of challenges toward building a community-driven system like this — from making it resistant to manipulation attempts to ensuring it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors. Coleman wrote. While at times it may be “messy,” the platform has confidence in this approach to curb a common problem plaguing social media landscape for marketers and users alike.

Collaborating with Revue to support thought leadership

In a separate update, Twitter is making moves to support thought leadership throughout the platform through its acquisition of Revue, a service that helps anyone create and get paid for their newsletters.

“Writers and long-form content curators are a valuable part of the conversation and it’s critical we offer new ways for them to create and share their content, and importantly, help them grow and better connect with their audience,” stated Mike Park, Twitter’s VP of Publish Products.

For now, Revue will remain a standalone service, per the announcement, with the goal of its team to help Twitter users stay informed around their interest and favorite thought leaders while also introducing new ways for writers to monetize their audience whether established at a publication, an external, personal website, on Twitter or elsewhere.

While many writers turn to other sources to publish longer content, beyond the 280-character limit, Twitter hopes this will be a solution that helps them create and share their content and be a better home for them and their audiences.

“We’re imagining a lot of ways to do this, from allowing people to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter, to new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers,” added Park.

Feature image courtesy of Digital Information World.

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