Twitter expands its fact-checking experiment, Birdwatch

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Twitter will expand its fact-checking community project called Birdwatch, the social media company said on Wednesday (Sept. 7), deepening its new approach to a new form of content moderation.

Birdwatch was launched last January, allowing some Twitter users to expose misleading tweets by annotating content to provide context or reference accurate sources.

Social media platforms, including Twitter, have long faced competitive pressures over the topic of moderating content that appears on their services. Critics have accused the companies of not doing enough to remove harmful messages, while others argue that the platforms must protect free speech.

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Billionaire Elon Musk, who is trying to walk away from his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, has said the company should cut down on deleting messages and act as a public town hall for free speech.

While Twitter has policies that prohibit content such as hate speech or calls to violence, Birdwatch allows the Twitter community to address tweets in “grey areas,” Keith Coleman, vice president of product, told reporters at a briefing.

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“We just think this is a really powerful place to start because it just arms people with information and lets them make their own decision,” he said.

Until now, Birdwatch was a limited experiment with 15,000 contributors writing fact-checking notes. Twitter said it will now add about 1,000 new contributors per week.

Birdwatch notes are kept on a separate website, but half of users in the United States will start seeing notes in their Twitter timelines, the company said.

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