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Twitter launches crowd-sourced fact-checking project with ‘helpfulness score’

  • January 26, 2021

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Twitter, along with other social media companies, has been grappling how best to combat misinformation on its service. Despite tightened rules and enforcement, falsehoods about the U.S. presidential election and the coronavirus continue to spread.

But if the effort is to work, Twitter will have to anticipate misuse and bad actors trying to game the system to their advantage.

To help weed out unhelpful or troll-created notes, for instance, Twitter plans to attach a “helpfulness score” to each one and will label helpful ones “currently rated helpful.”

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The company said Birdwatch will not replace other labels and fact checks Twitter currently uses – primarily for election and COVID-19-related misinformation and misleading posts.

The program will start with 1,000 users and eventually expand beyond the U.S.

San Francisco-based Twitter said it is trying to ensure that Birdwatch has a diverse range of perspectives and participants – an ongoing problem at Wikipedia, where many of the contributors and editors are white men.

“If we have more applicants than pilot slots, we will randomly admit accounts, prioritizing accounts that tend to follow and engage with different audiences and content than those of existing participants,” Twitter wrote.

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