In a blog post on Monday, Twitter announced that it will introduce aliases for participants in its Birdwatch moderation tool so they don't have to include their usernames in other people's Tweets. In January, the social media platform launched the Birdwatch pilot as a way to crowdsource fact-checking tweets that might contain misleading or inaccurate information. But it said participants in the pilot Birdwatch program "overwhelmingly indicated a preference to donate under pseudonyms".This preference was strongest for women and black contributors."
Twitter says its research shows aliases have the potential to reduce bias because people focus not on the author of Birdwatch's notes, but on what they say. The study also found that nicknames may help "reduce polarization by helping people easily cross party lines."
Twitter in January launched a pilot program for Birdwatch, which allows participating users to fact-check tweets and add contextual annotations. Bird-watch participants can also rate each other's notes. Beyond that, the notes aren't visible on Twitter, but they do appear on birdwatch's public website. Applicants to the Birdwatch program are asked to pledge to act honestly and "be helpful, even to those who disagree," as a condition of participation: "to sincerely and constructively help others to be informed."Don't try to game or manipulate the system."
Twitter also said on Monday it would launch a Birdwatch profile "to ensure this change does not come at the expense of liability".This will make past contributions to Birdwatch visible to users and allow contributors to be "responsible" for the ratings their notes receive.
For people who participated in the Birdwatch pilot program using a Twitter username before Monday, all previous contributions will now be displayed from any alias they chose, instead of their Twitter username." That is, if someone has read your notes before and happens to remember the username that wrote it, they may be able to deduce your alias," the company notes.