Twitter wants the community to fact-check tweets, so it created Birdwatch: a website where program participants can, to use Twitter’s words, “add context” to individual tweets. According to Keith Coleman, Twitter’s VP of product, the company believes that “this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable.” He went on to say that eventually, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors, Birdwatch notes will be visible directly on Twitter.
Twitter was quick to acknowledge the potential problems with a relatively small group of community-based fact-checkers, but they also know the only way to solve those problems is to test the system.
I don’t think this will work in any meaningful way. Twitter is in the anonymity business. No one knows who anyone really is on Twitter, so trolls and bot armies run rampant. A good first step would be to take everyone’s credit card and driver’s license and make people accountable for what they post. Without accountability, you can fact check all you want, but nothing is going to change.
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