Twitter's 'Birdwatch' will fight the spread of misinformation

Joe White

Posts: 18   +0
Staff
Why it matters: Misinformation on Twitter (or WhatsApp, Facebook, or many other social channels) is a problem that isn't going away. To combat the spread though, Twitter is developing a new feature that will let users flag-up tweets for moderation. If more context is needed, extra information can be provided in the form of additional notes. This should make it easier for Twitter users to discern between fact and fiction.

Called "Birdwatch," the new Twitter feature is currently in development and was originally uncovered by reverse-engineer Jane Manchun Wong. When available, users will be able to flag tweets which may include incorrect or inaccurate information for moderation. If necessary, "Birdwatch Notes" will then be added to the tweet, providing further context for Twitter users.

TechCrunch explains that Birdwatch could be open to contributions from members of the public, describing it as a kind of "citizens' watch" for members of the Twitter community. Social media consultant Matt Navarra more recently found evidence of this in Twitter's iOS app, although it remains to be seen if there will be restrictions around who can contribute to Birdwatch Notes.

Of course, tweet fact-checking has been at the center of a debate involving none other than U.S. President Donald Trump. After a flurry of tweets where the president criticized mail-in ballots, Twitter added a fact-check alert to a number of the president's updates. Trump then claimed that Twitter was "interfering with the 2020 presidential election."

There's still a lot to learn about Birdwatch—including whether or not it may result in some tweets being outright removed from the platform. While Twitter hasn't publicly discussed Birdwatch, a spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company is exploring ways to combat the sharing of misinformation.

They added, "Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it."

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Maxiking

Posts: 134   +151
Fine people hoax, Russia collusion hoax, China collusion hoax, COVID being called a hoax, peaceful protests and many others.

Rules for me but not for thee.

Or imagine these fact-checkers actually working and being honest and serious. They would go red every damn time any left-leaning politician would open the moth and promised that more of regulation and higher taxes would make anything better. Just lol
 

pelopidas

Posts: 7   +21
Having an uncensored conservative media is the original “fact check”. This new approach will just be used to decentralize the censorship of conservative voices by letting the “community” do it.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,031   +878
Or imagine these fact-checkers actually working and being honest and serious. They would go red every damn time any left-leaning politician would open the moth and promised that more of regulation and higher taxes would make anything better. Just lol
Of course, the basic premise of "community fact-checking" is flawed. The marvelous things about facts is that they remain true, even if one person agrees and 100 disagree. This will simply be used to squelch dissenting opinions. By making this move, Twitter will be able to censor and still disclaim responsibility.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,031   +878
An interesting graph showing nations who’s leader has become infected by Covid... note the world average and draw your own conclusions...
I'm unsure what you believe the word "who's" means, but it's interesting the graph leaves off Belgium, Spain, Italy, etc -- nations whose per-capita official death rate matches or exceeds the US. You should also realize that the US, per CDC guidelines, doesn't require a positive Covid test to tally a death to the official total, but merely a presumptive exposure, nor does it require a doctor to certify Covid as the primary cause of death, rather than merely a comorbidity factor. Every other nation reporting statistics requires one or both of these, meaning the U.S. overreports deaths, while others underreport them.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
Of course, the basic premise of "community fact-checking" is flawed. The marvelous things about facts is that they remain true, even if one person agrees and 100 disagree. This will simply be used to squelch dissenting opinions. By making this move, Twitter will be able to censor and still disclaim responsibility.
Honestly, I think having outlets that present both sides of an issue fairly is the most important aspect. Today, it is all about ratings, and if you present an idea that appeals to your base viewership, that is going to appeal to your viewers and thus increase your ratings. Most outlets, left or right, unfortunately do this these days. TS has drubbed this topic to death, and I am not posting another link to a Study published by Columbia University that came to the conclusion that it was the conservative media that was the most likely to embellish stories during the 2016 election cycle. If you are dilligent enough, I am sure that either using google or bing you could find my posts here on TS that have a citation for that study. Of course, though, I don't expect any conservative to believe it since it was published by a "liberal" university. As I understand it, there was a similar study done by a top university in the UK that came to the same conclusion.


As I see it, conservatives really only have themselves to blame for this. While Twitter does not have a broadcast license, it was the Reagan administration, in 1985, that got rid of the Fairness Doctrine, which might have extended to social media if it had remained in place and if it updated to the current times. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine Why Reagan got rid of it was that in part, they felt in infringed on the First Amendment rights of the boradcasters The Left specifically Democrats, at the time, wanted to keep it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine

IMO, conservatives can't have it both ways.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,031   +878
The problem of course isn't the Fairness Doctrine, but something much simpler and more immediate: Sec. 206 of the Communications Decency Act. This gave social media platforms immunity from prosecution for posting false and libelous content, under the rationale that these platforms were acting merely as providers, not publishers, I.e. that they did not exercise any editorial control over their content.

That might have been true in 1996, but it is no longer true today. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and their ilk regularly and actively promote certain viewpoints which squelching others. When you begin labelling certain content as false, you are de facto claiming content not so labelled is true. And thus, you should be able to be held liable in civil court when that turns out to not be true.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,559   +2,451
I'm unsure what you believe the word "who's" means, but it's interesting the graph leaves off Belgium, Spain, Italy, etc -- nations whose per-capita official death rate matches or exceeds the US. You should also realize that the US, per CDC guidelines, doesn't require a positive Covid test to tally a death to the official total, but merely a presumptive exposure, nor does it require a doctor to certify Covid as the primary cause of death, rather than merely a comorbidity factor. Every other nation reporting statistics requires one or both of these, meaning the U.S. overreports deaths, while others underreport them.
Oops, typo... fixed.... as for leaving certain nations off, it’s only for those whose leaders have contracted Covid... those haven’t....

And the point seems to be - if you take care of your people, you also take care of your leaders... but hey, I’m sure you think Covid is fake news anyways...
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,520   +5,881
If finding the truth was the goal. I'd be all for fact checking censorship. These birdwatchers are biased. So such efforts will never work effectively. They only work effectively towards their agenda, but not effectively towards the truth.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,031   +878
And the point seems to be - if you take care of your people, you also take care of your leaders.
The first world leader to contract Covid was the prince of Monaco. Monaco's per-capita death rate is among the lowest in the world (2 total deaths only). The leader of the nation with the world's highest per-capita death rate -- Belgium -- has not contracted Covid. Your theory doesn't hold much water, does it?

Interestingly enough, if one regards US states as independent nations (a reasonable proposition, given that under the US constitution the responsibility for health matters lies with individual states, not the federal government) then New York State becomes far and away the world leader in Covid deaths. This is of course due to Mario Cuomo's decision early on to force nursing homes to accept Covid patients, placing our most vulnerable population side-by-side with infected victims. Yet Mario Cuomo himself has so far avoided the fate he decreed for so many nursing home residents.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,559   +2,451
The first world leader to contract Covid was the prince of Monaco. Monaco's per-capita death rate is among the lowest in the world (2 total deaths only). The leader of the nation with the world's highest per-capita death rate -- Belgium -- has not contracted Covid. Your theory doesn't hold much water, does it?

Interestingly enough, if one regards US states as independent nations (a reasonable proposition, given that under the US constitution the responsibility for health matters lies with individual states, not the federal government) then New York State becomes far and away the world leader in Covid deaths. This is of course due to Mario Cuomo's decision early on to force nursing homes to accept Covid patients, placing our most vulnerable population side-by-side with infected victims. Yet Mario Cuomo himself has so far avoided the fate he decreed for so many nursing home residents.
It’s not all-encompassing.... just because a leader hasn’t contracted Covid, doesn’t mean he or she is doing a good job....

So you admit New York is doing a crappy job... still think Covid is fake news?
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,031   +878
It’s not all-encompassing.... just because a leader hasn’t contracted Covid, doesn’t mean he or she is doing a good job....
But what you suggested earlier was far more broad-reaching-- that there was a direct correlation between Covid case counts in a nation and whether their leader had contracted it. Glad to see you're backing down from that statement.

The fact is that there are many nations who instituted early, comprehensive and mandatory lockdowns, and still got slammed hard. Whereas many other nations took little or no action, and have come out just fine. There is very little correlation between lockdowns and Covid rates, and no correlation whatsoever between mask use and Covid rates.

In fact, there is only one variable that shows a strong correlation to a nation's Covid death rate. That is the infection date for their patient zero, and whether it happened when China was still claiming that Covid could not spread through human-to-human transmission. Italy, for instance, has one of the highest death rates in the world, despite one of the earliest and most stringent lockdowns in the world. Why? Because ten flights a day were occurring direct from Wuhan province to Italy, flights that even continued for weeks after the Chinese government banned Wuhan travelers from flying to elsewhere in mainland China. Yes, China allowed infected victims from Wuhan to fly internationally, even as they banned them from flying locally. And the US had even more direct flights from Wuhan than did Italy. From ABC News:

"The data shows that 3,200 flights flew from China to the U.S., including more than 1,000 flights that went to Los Angeles and nearly 500 each landed in San Francisco and New York – all three among the eventual hot spots of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. More than 100 flights from China arrived in six other American cities: Chicago, Seattle, Detroit, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Newark, N.J...

Link: Disaster in motion: 3.4 million travelers poured into US as coronavirus pandemic erupted

...The last flights from Wuhan came in early February, when the Trump Administration imposed restrictions on flights from China to the U.S.

But this new passenger and travel data obtained by ABC News revealed by the time the president took his action...some of the damage had already been done.

"The United States banned travel to China 12 days after the world heard there was an outbreak of severe pneumonia in Wuhan. ... The problem was, it was too late," said Dr. Todd Ellerin, chief of Infectious Disease...."
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,559   +2,451
I suggested no such thing. I merely posted the graph and asked people to think for themselves.

I'm intrigued that your stance on COVID has changed so dramatically since last we argued... finally agree it might be a serious problem?
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,031   +878
I suggested no such thing. I merely posted the graph and asked people to think for themselves.
You began by stating baldly that "the point seems to be - if you take care of your people, you also take care of your leaders.". You then retreated to "It's not all-encompassing". Now you're claiming you suggested nothing? Whatever, my friend.

I'm intrigued that your stance on COVID has changed so dramatically since last we argued... finally agree it might be a serious problem?
My stance is unchanged. My post was meant to illuminate the fallacies in the "lockdowns solve everything" narrative. The original intent of lockdowns was to avoid overwhelming the hospital system. For political purposes, it morphed into the goal of eliminating all infections, which was counterproductive and even harmful. 56 million children in the US lost a year of schooling from this, and the resulting social isolation they experienced will cause developmental issues and permanent harm for many of them. Just recently, the CDC reported that over 25% of young adults have seriously considered suicide during the lockdown -- a rate four times the highest ever before recorded. All this, for a disease that for the young is much less dangerous than the common flu? Mental depression is up sharply, illicit drug use is up sharply, spousal abuse and divorce up sharply ... and every time I visit a public place, I see crowds of people using masks in a manner that will certainly increase overall infection rates.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
The problem of course isn't the Fairness Doctrine, but something much simpler and more immediate: Sec. 206 of the Communications Decency Act. This gave social media platforms immunity from prosecution for posting false and libelous content, under the rationale that these platforms were acting merely as providers, not publishers, I.e. that they did not exercise any editorial control over their content.

That might have been true in 1996, but it is no longer true today. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and their ilk regularly and actively promote certain viewpoints which squelching others. When you begin labelling certain content as false, you are de facto claiming content not so labelled is true. And thus, you should be able to be held liable in civil court when that turns out to not be true.
It is the dolts posting false information that is the problem. And why, with control of all branches of government, have conservatives not done anything about it? You cannot convince me that it is because of social platforms that are all powerful, as if conservatives really wanted to change the law, they would. All anyone of them seem to have done so far is to P&M about the problem rather than take concrete action. So, I stand by my basic premise, that conservatives only have themselves to blame. But, of course, as they have shown time and time again, they will blame everyone else but themselves for what is clearly their own problem. Maybe that is because they well know that conservative outlets are just as guilty as "left leaning outlets" at allowing and even promoting bogus information. If they changed the law, that would no longer be possible, and such bogus information only further's the cause of their propaganda. What is that quote of Joseph Gobbels? Tell a lie enough times and everyone will come to believe it and you may come to believe it yourself. Or do we want to attribute that quote to the biggest figure of WWII. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/553-if-you-tell-a-big-enough-lie-and-tell-it

Just sayin'
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
and every time I visit a public place, I see crowds of people using masks in a manner that will certainly increase overall infection rates.
Maybe, as you like to say yourself, they get their science from the media. I think that the science clearly indicates that at least some types of home-made masks help to prevent the spread of the virus. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/36/eabd3083

Then again, many people have no clue of how to follow scientific advice, and it becomes problematic, as I see it, when a US President comes out as being anti-science. Apparently according to a study recently released by Cornell University, Trump, himself, is the biggest source of mis-information regarding covid. https://int.nyt.com/data/documentto...ubmitted-07-23-20-1/080839ac0c22bca8/full.pdf :rolleyes:
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,031   +878
why, with control of all branches of government, have conservatives not done anything about it?
Because conservatives do not -- and have not had "control of all branches of government", of course. It takes a 60-vote supermajority to control the Senate, and conservatives don't hold a clear majority in the Supreme Court either, as Roberts cannot be tallied to either bloc.

The rest of your post is equally off target. We're discussing social media here. Traditional media outlets can be held accountable in civil court (CNN alone has been successfully sued for false and defamatory stories several times recently). Social media is immune, thanks to the CDA.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
Because conservatives do not -- and have not had "control of all branches of government", of course. It takes a 60-vote supermajority to control the Senate, and conservatives don't hold a clear majority in the Supreme Court either, as Roberts cannot be tallied to either bloc.

The rest of your post is equally off target. We're discussing social media here. Traditional media outlets can be held accountable in civil court (CNN alone has been successfully sued for false and defamatory stories several times recently). Social media is immune, thanks to the CDA.
Right. They have been successful in ramming other stuff down the throats of their constituents. If they want to, they could find a way.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,479   +3,575
Because conservatives do not -- and have not had "control of all branches of government", of course. It takes a 60-vote supermajority to control the Senate, and conservatives don't hold a clear majority in the Supreme Court either, as Roberts cannot be tallied to either bloc.

The rest of your post is equally off target. We're discussing social media here. Traditional media outlets can be held accountable in civil court (CNN alone has been successfully sued for false and defamatory stories several times recently). Social media is immune, thanks to the CDA.
So I guess you are saying that conservative social media is ripe with angels, then, and allow the left to post whatever they want when they want?