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Twitter Expands Collective Project for Data Verification

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Twitter is expanding its collaborative fact-checking project, called Birdwatch, which began more than a year ago as a small, little-publicized pilot program.

The program allows the common user to warn him of misleading tweets. This is separate from Twitter’s partnerships with The Associated Press and Reuters for news checking.

Starting Thursday, a small random group of Twitter users in the United States will start seeing Birdwatch ads in some tweets, the company said. They may qualify them as useful, or not.

To contribute to Birdwatch fact checks, anyone in the United States can sign up if they have a verified phone number with a US carrier and no recent violations of Twitter’s rules. They also have to accept three rules, says the social network: contribute to generating understanding, act in good faith and help, even those with whom they do not get along.

Twitter, along with other social media companies, are trying to find the best way to combat misinformation on their service. Despite stricter rules and their enforcement, falsehoods continue to spread, now exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the Russian state propaganda machine.

The company has said it wants experts and non-experts to write Birdwatch notes and cited Wikipedia as a site that thrives on contributions from non-experts. Ratings, meanwhile, are similar to Reddit’s upvotes and downvotes for comments.

For notes to be visible in a tweet, it must be rated useful by enough people from “different perspectives,” Twitter said, adding that it determines different perspectives by how people have previously rated notes, not their demographics.

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