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Twitter introduces aliases for Birdwatch programme

Twitter will introduce aliases for contributors to its Birdwatch moderation programme.

The social media giant made the announcement earlier this week after it emerged that contributors to the new initiative "overwhelmingly voiced a preference for contributing under aliases".

Twitter launched the pilot of Birdwatch in January as a method of crowdsourcing fact-checking on tweets that might contain misleading or inaccurate information.

The company says that its research shows that aliases have the potential to reduce bias by putting the focus not on the author of a Birdwatch note but on the message's content. It also found that aliases may help "reduce polarisation by helping people feel comfortable crossing partisan lines".

The Birdwatch programme allows participating users to fact-check tweets and add notes with additional context. The notes are not visible on Twitter but are displayed on the public Birdwatch website.

Applicants to Birdwatch are asked to promise to act in good faith and "be helpful, even to those who disagree".

Users are also asked to "genuinely and constructively contribute to help others stay informed".

Twitter added that it would be rolling out Birdwatch profile pages "to ensure this change doesn't come at the expense of accountability. This will make users' past Birdwatch contributors visible and allow contributors to be "accountable" to the ratings their notes receive.

For people participating in the Birdwatch pilot who contributed under their Twitter usernames prior to Monday (22.11.21), all previous contributions will now appear to come from whatever alias they choose, rather than their username.

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