Twitter has finally found a way to appease the leftist mob that has long been dictating policy on the app, while absolving itself of all responsibility.
According to a story published by NBC News's Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, Twitter is launching a crowd-sourced feature intended to combat slander and misinformation in a similar way that Wikipedia flags potentially misleading tweets.
The new system will allow users to "discuss" and "provide context" to tweets that "they believe to be misleading or false."
Per NBC, the new project, called "Birdwatch," is a standalone section of Twitter that will at first only be available to a small set of users, largely on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead of giving priority to real fact-checkers, users will be required to use an account tied to a real phone number and email address.
"Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading or false, and write notes that provide informative context," Twitter Vice President of Product Keith Coleman wrote in a press release. "We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable."
Although Birdwatch will initially be cordoned off to a separate section of Twitter, the company says it "eventually" aims to make notes more visible directly for Twitter's global audience.
Initially, participants will label tweets as accurate or inaccurate. Those ratings are then assembled into a Birdwatch profile, which will be separate from a Twitter profile, not unlike Reddit’s user-rating system. Twitter said it hopes to build a community of "Birdwatchers" that can eventually help moderate and label tweets, though initially labels created through Birdwatch will be private.
Growing pressure demanding that Twitter do something about the "rampant misinformation" on the platform recently led to Twitter (and, unrelatedly, Facebook) banning former President Trump and many of his allies from the platform.
Twitter told NBC News (which first reported on the program months ago) that it had been encouraged by early trials of the program.
"We know there are a number of challenges toward building a community-driven system like this - from making it resistant to manipulation attempts to ensuring it isn’t dominated by a simple majority or biased based on its distribution of contributors. We’ll be focused on these things throughout the pilot," Coleman said.
It added that the Birdwatch product is intended to stop malicious actors from spreading misinformation on Twitter, although the company also acknowledged there are "challenges" to building a system like this.
Conservatives who still use the platform were unsurprisingly less than pleased by the product description, with some warning that it would transform Twitter into "a SJW playground" where "no speech that opposes the left wing narrative is allowed."
This is the initiative that will turn Twitter into the new Myspace. @Jack needs to seriously reconsider this path. It’ll truly turn Twitter into a SJW playground where no speech that opposes the left wing narrative is allowed. Truly awful idea. pic.twitter.com/6c3zjMCvDn— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) January 25, 2021
Others made more weighty comparisons.
So they’re introducing Brownshirts https://t.co/nOVrvHfQ9o— GreekFire23 (@GreekFire23) January 25, 2021
Before now, aside from the bans, Twitter has relied on labeling tweets, or including criticial "context", below tweets that spread misinformation. In March, facing a deluge of misinformation about the pandemic, the company began removing "misleading and potentially harmful content" about COVID.
Before that, in February, Twitter rolled out a new "manipulated media" label, affixing it first to a tweet from then-President Trump. In the following months, the company would label many more tweets for misinformation about the pandemic and the election. And in just the final two weeks before the election, Twitter said it had labeled some 300K tweets for "disputed and potentially misleading" content.
Once Parler has been stricken from the Internet, along with every other social media network catering to conservatives, we can't help but wonder: Where will all the conservatives fleeing Twitter go?