Twitter’s crowd-sourced fact-checking program, Community Notes, is now open to contributors in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Twitter said over the weekend that it was expanding the contributor base by 10% per week by onboarding new individuals to the program. The social media company has also promised to include people from other countries.
Community Notes aims to allow users to add more context to tweets through links and reports. The program has been widely used to debunk or correct claims made in popular tweets.
Twitter introduced the social fact-checking program last year in the US under “Birdwatch”. In September, Twitter started adding more contributors just ahead of the US midterm elections. A month later, it made notes appended by contributors visible to all users in the US.
After Elon Musk started managing Twitter, he renamed “Birdwatch” to “Community Notes” — despite former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey thinking it is the “most boring Facebook name ever.” Musk believed that the project “is a game-changer for improving accuracy on Twitter.”
In December, the social network said that it is making Community Notes visible to folks all around the world. However, the contributions just came from users based out of the US. With the latest announcement, the company is changing that. If anyone wants to join the program, Twitter requires them to have a verified phone number and a six-month-old account.
However, one requirement that seems to throw people off is a “Trusted network provider”. Many have complained that their network is not eligible and Twitter doesn’t have a list of trusted carriers. It is likely that the company is filtering out carriers that facilitated spam accounts through SMS-based authentication. But in that case, it needs transparent about the process and work with network providers to avoid spam.
Last week, it also started showing these notes under quoted tweets on the iOS app and on the web.
Over the last few months, Twitter has also made several tweaks to the Community Notes algorithm, including changing the visibility of low-quality notes, expanding the type of notes for contributors, and stabilizing the impact score of contributions.
After Musk’s takeover, Twitter has cut thousands of full-time and contractual jobs — including people working on trust & safety and content moderation. This has impacted the social network’s ability to filter out harmful content and in turn, and keep high-spending advertisers on the platform. So it is not surprising to see the company is pushing the program that puts the onus of fact-checking on users.