Twitter has updated its Community Notes feature (formerly known as Birdwatch) on Friday, according to a set of positions from a corporate Twitter account. With the update, community ratings are once again subject to “rating,” where site users can vote on whether a rating is helpful or not. Additionally, an algorithm change will supposedly ensure that “more low-quality notes will be identified” and restrict users who frequently contribute “low quality” ratings, the company tweeted.
So in summary: there is now a crowd-sourced verification tool for the Twitter crowd-sourced verification tool. The site’s vice president of product, Keith Coleman, follow up to clarify in its own post that site users would be responsible for determining the quality of a rating, not Twitter itself.
It seems likely that the announcement of the algorithm change is part of a bid to demonstrate the platform’s moderation ability and reliability, amid weeks of chaos following the acquisition of Elon Musk. Since the billionaire bought the company and emptied its workforce, many advertisers paused their spending on the platform, awaiting guidance on the direction of the site.
Advertisers generally don’t want their brands to be associated with racial slurs, political misinformation, neo-Nazis, etc. And Musk’s vision of an unbridled “free speech” platform has scared off potential ad partners. A report earlier this month reported that half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers have leaked since Musk took over, despite Tesla CEO’s advice the assurance that he would not make the site a “hellish landscape”.
In an apparent attempt to illustrate the presumed value of the updated Community Notes feature, Musk himself took to the site to post fake news. The social media CEO posted a doctored headline attributed to CNN, then answered “@CommunityNotes FTW! when a community note appeared on his post stating that the screenshot was not real.
Ever since Musk officially began his Twitter reign in late October, moderation of the platform has been a top concern. Right away, the site’s former content moderation team was unable to do his joband then many of those jobs have been cut in collective redundancies. While Musk may see moderation as antithetical to “freedom,” it’s likely essential to keeping the social media site usable, appealing to its core users, and profitable. Additionally, even when it had a full content moderation team, the platform remained struggled to deal with abuse and political misinformation.
Twitter originally launched Community Notes/Birdwatch to combat these difficulties, not necessarily to completely replace other aspects of site moderation. However, currently it isIt’s unclear how well Twitter’s other moderation layers are working. The website reporting and deletion failure videos of the Christchurch mosque shooting on Sunday, pointing to major flaws in current processes.