Twitter wants its Birdwatch contributors protected. To this end, the social media giant is adding aliases to its Birdwatch fact check program.
Twitter’s Birdwatch has been a pilot project since the start of the year. The program involves crowdsourcing fact checks directly from other users on the platform.
Going forward, participants will be able to conceal their identity whenever they append a note to a user’s tweet. Twitter said it will automatically generate aliases for new Birdwatch users that are not publicly associated with their accounts.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable contributing to Birdwatch, and aliases let you write and rate notes without sharing your Twitter username,” Twitter said in a blog post.
The social media giant said users will have 5 random options to pick from when it comes to choosing an alias. It however adds that choices cannot be changed “at this time.”
Twitter is also rolling out profile pages that will make it easy to see the past Birdwatch of a user’s contributions. Twitter said this is necessary to ensure aliases do not come “at the expense of accountability.”
To this end, each note on a user’s public profile will include the current rating that contribution has earned. This is to let you know what the community thinks of it.
In October 2020, Twitter announced that it was working on a new experimental tool to help in the fight against fake news. Birdwatch is one of the company’s attempts at ridding its platform of misinformation. The social media giant will hope this tool works; though, it acknowledges the fact that more still needs to be done.
Social media commentator Matt Navarra had tweeted about Birdwatch before the company confirmed it was actually working on the tool. Confirming the feature to TechCrunch at the time, Twitter had this to say:
“We’re exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it,” they added.
Birdwatch, according to Navarra, allows you to attach notes to a tweet. These notes can be viewed when you click on the binoculars button on the tweet itself. What this means in essence, is that additional context about the statements made in your tweet would be open to the public.