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Twitter's Birdwatch feature hopes to combat misinformation. Here's how it works and how to sign up for it

Submitted by Tech Insider on March 5, 2021 - 8:34pm

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Twitter has introduced a series of features aimed to slow the spread of misinformation and disinformation on the platform. 

In January 2021, the social media company launched its pilot Birdwatch feature, which lets users flag and fact-check tweets they believe include inaccurate or deceptive information, as well as add notes to tweets that need additional context. 

The feature is only available to a select number of users within the US, but Twitter said it hopes to allow more people to participate soon. 

Quick note: Birdwatch is a separate site from Twitter, and notes made by Birdwatch participants on tweets can only be seen on the Birdwatch site, not on Twitter.  

How Twitter's Birdwatch feature works

Users who have been selected for the pilot program of Birdwatch are able to make comments on individual tweets they deem to be misinformation or to need more context, as well as rate comments made by other users. 

Birdwatch works like this: 

  1. On the Birdwatch site, a Birdwatch participant identifies a tweet that has outdated information and needs additional context. 
  2. The user will select the three horizontal dots in the tweet's upper-right corner to access the menu. 

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  3. Then, the user can select "Contribute to Birdwatch." The next page will prompt the user to agree to Birdwatch's terms and conditions. After reviewing, select "Continue." 
  4. A series of questions will pop up about what makes the tweet misleading. Once all questions are answered, a note can be added. Notes can also include links to reputable sources. 
  5. Select "Submit" to finish. 

Birdwatch comments are public and will display your Twitter username when you submit one. However, notes can be deleted at any time.  

If you'd like to view Birdwatch comments on tweets, go to the Birdwatch site, select "See all notes on this Tweet" under a tweet.  

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If you're a Birdwatch participant, you can also rate comments on tweets for accuracy and helpfulness. Tweets with notes will display a Birdwatch icon next to them. 

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When Birdwatch will be available for all users

Birdwatch is in pilot mode, meaning Twitter is experimenting with the feature's effectiveness before it rolls out globally. However, users who want to participate can sign up here

To be eligible for Birdwatch, users have to have: a verified phone and email address; a U.S.-based phone carrier; enabled two-factor authentication; no recent account violations; and an acknowledgment of Twitter's terms of service. 

How to use WhatsApp's fact-checking feature to research the validity of viral, forwarded messagesHow to report a fleet on Twitter if it violates the platform's community guidelinesHow to soft block someone on Twitter to remove them as a followerMisinformation vs. disinformation: What to know about each form of false information, and how to spot them online

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