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What is Birdwatch, and how does it work?

Twitter Launches Birdwatch: What Is It?

Twitter and other social media giants have been scrutinised for not making more of an effort to combat misinformation, particularly following the recent US presidential election. 


On Monday the 25th of January 2021, Twitter launched Birdwatch, a pilot program which will allow users to flag and annotate misleading or inaccurate tweets on the platform. The system is currently being tested with around 1000 users in the US to begin with. Users will be able to write notes on Tweets to provide context. 


Twitter says that they believe a community-driven approach to tackling the misleading information can help people stay better informed, and that this is the first step towards creating ways to empower people to help build a more transparent and better informed world. Twitter says they are taking significant steps to make the whole process completely transparent by making all data contributed to Birdwatch publicly available and downloadable in the form of TSV files.


Twitter has also invited anyone to participate in the program to get a broader and more diverse group. Feel free to see if you can be a part of the program here.


So how can one identify fake news?


We need to first understand that fake news is essentially misinformation. It gets trickier, there is also a difference between misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is false or inaccurate information which is shared regardless of an intention to deceive. Disinformation is essentially a kind of misinformation which is purposefully deceptive.


When trying to determine if something is fake news, some things ask yourself might be:

·      Does this article have a very clear bias?

·      Who is the author and the publisher and do they have an established reputation?

·      Is it a trusted news source?

·      When was the article published?

·      What is the website address?

·      Are there spelling or grammatical errors?


There are a number of ways you can help combat fake news and misinformation, and different social media platforms have different options. We highly recommend going through the article on Verizon which has a comprehensive guide to identifying fake news. The article can be found here.

If you are unsure about how to effectively manage your social media, or you would simply like to learn about how you can use it to your advantage, you can contact Farosian directly to enquire about our full Social Media Readiness Training course.

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