American micro-blogging and social media networking service Twitter announced in a blog post that the company is introducing aliases for participants in its Birdswatch moderation tool.
As per ANI, the social media platform launched the pilot of Birdswatch in January as a way to crowd-source face-checking on tweets that might contain misleading or inaccurate information.
The company said contributors in the pilot Birdswatch program overwhelmingly voiced a preference for contributing under aliases. This preference was strongest for women and Black contributors.
Twitter said its research showed that aliases have the potential to reduce bias by putting the focus not on the author of a Birdswatch note, but the note’s content.
It also found that aliases could help to “reduce polarization by helping people feel comfortable crossing partisan lines”.
Twitter introduced a pilot of the Birdwatch program in January, which allows participating users to fact-check tweets and add notes with additional context. Birdwatch participants can also rate each others’ notes.
The notes aren’t otherwise visible on Twitter but are displayed on the public Birdwatch website.
Twitter also said Monday it was rolling out Birdwatch profile pages “to ensure this change doesn’t come at the expense of accountability”.
This will make users’ past Birdwatch contributions visible and allow contributors to be “accountable” for the ratings their notes receive.
For people participating in the Birdwatch pilot who contributed under their Twitter usernames prior to Monday, all previous contributions will now appear to come from whatever alias they choose, not their Twitter username.
“That said, if someone who previously read one of your notes happened to recall the username that wrote it, they could infer your alias,” the company noted, adding that users could opt to delete all of their prior Birdwatch contributions by contacting Twitter directly in a DM to @birdwatch.