As Americans continue to grapple with media distrust, conspiracy theories, bots, trolls, and general panic amid multiple unprecedented crises, Twitter is once again trying a new method of identifying misinformation. A new feature in development at the social media platform, called “Birdwatch,” was first reported by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong (h/t Tech Crunch) in early August.
On Friday, the social media platform confirmed the name of the tool. Speculation on what Birdwatch will do (or at least try to do) from social media experts has since mounted.
If implemented as intended, Birdwatch will reportedly appear as a tab in every tweet’s drop-down menu, alongside existing moderation features Mute, Block, and Report. (Social media consultant Matt Navarra posted screenshots of the feature, shown below.)
Users will be able to add tweets to Birdwatch (in a fashion similar to how one might add an account to a List) — flagging them for potential falsehoods and adding an icon to their bottom-right corners.
Such tweets will then be added to users’ personal “Birdwatch Notes” collections, accessible from Twitter’s sidebar navigation. Users can add information about why they flagged certain tweets, in a public or private matter (as reported by Tech Crunch) — and weigh in on whether the tweet is true or not, via a “Twitter Community” form (per Wong).
I suppose this is a good time to offer a reminder that we’ve love the opportunity to work with you 😉
On Birdwatch, excited to share more about our plans here soon.
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) October 3, 2020
How the crowdsourcing component of Birdwatch will work isn’t yet clear, and analysts are already raising concerns that the feature could backfire. Still, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said he was “excited to share more about our plans [for Birdwatch] soon.” Representatives for Twitter did not immediately respond to Mashable’s request for comment.
God, something please work.