Twitter is working on a new tool to counter misinformation. The new tool, currently dubbed as ‘Birdwatch,’ will let Twitter users warn each other about misleading tweets that could cause harm by flagging the tweet and adding notes. ‘Birdwatch’ lets users flag tweets, and add notes to provide more context. It also requires users to fill a survey form where the user elaborates whether a tweet is misleading. The feature was first spotted by tipster Jane Manchun Wong, who digs in to app codes to find new and unreleased features. Wong had first discovered the ‘Birdwatch’ feature back in early August.
In a tweet last week, Wong further elaborated the ‘Birdwatch’ feature. On Saturday, October 3, Wong demonstrated how a “Twitter Community" form was generated when a tweet is added to ‘Birdwatch’. The form shared by Wong asks users to elaborate on a misleading tweet. Wong’s findings were acknowledged by Twitter, as the company’s Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour responded to her tweet saying that he will share more about the ‘Birdwatch’ feature soon. “I suppose this is a good time to offer a reminder that we’ve love the opportunity to work with you," Beykpour said.
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
Last week, social media consultant Matt Navarra also tweeted about the new feature. “A new Twitter feature? Birdwatch?! Any guesses what it does," Navarra tweeted, along with a screenshot of an “Add to Birdwatch" button. The “Add to Birdwatch" button shows a tiny binoculars icon. “Looks like it allows you to attach notes to a tweet," Navarra said in another tweet.
In August this year, Wong had demonstrated how Twitter’s ‘Birdwatch’ feature lets users add notes to the tweets they were flagging, in order to add more context.
While it does seem like a step ahead from Twitter in terms of curbing misinformation, there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the new tool like who will get the feature, how will Twitter make it not seem complicated, or how it will contain the potential trolling that the new feature might carry. Guess we will have to wait for the micro-blogging website to provide more clarity on the ‘Birdwatch’ feature.