Twitter calls on users to help debunk misinformation

Twitter is turning to its users for help in combating misinformation by allowing people to submit notes on tweets that may be false.

The initiative, dubbed Birdwatch, is being trialled among a small group in the US initially, as social networks continue to explore ways of balancing free speech against potentially harmful fake news.

People will be able to flag tweets they believe to be misleading, provide evidence to the contrary and discuss them with others, on a separate Birdwatch site.

Twitter believes this new approach could help it respond more quickly when misleading information spreads.

Should the trial be a success, the social network aims to make notes appear directly on tweets for the global Twitter audience.

Participants will have to provide a verified phone number and email to take part, in a bid to keep bots and bad actors away, as well as having no recent rule violations against their Twitter account.

“It’s not a place for quick dunks, personal opinions, or insults,” the site explains.

“Write clear, evidence-based notes to help everyone, even sceptics, better understand a tweet and why it might be misleading.”