Re: Twitter Birdwatch: user annotation for credibility, truth, etc.

In some of our meetings I have already proposed that the phenomenon we are facing is, in short, “a battle of narratives” around a set of claims made by someone.

There are many factors that lead one to choose one narrative over the other. “Choosing” here means *acting* based on the accepted claims in the chosen narrative;. Until one acts (which can happen at some future point in time from the moment of the acceptance of the narrative), the actual choice is not so relevant, in my view.

Any set of claims is ultimately anchored in a chain of trust.

Suppose I say, “X is true” (X could be, for example, “COVID-19 vaccines can alter your DNA in 0.001% of cases”).
You either accept (in the sense of acting based on X’s veracity - e.g. taking the vaccine or not) because you trust me (wrt to X, and for many possible reasons), or else you ask for evidence or supporting “facts” (actually, new claims) to help me decide if I accept X’s veracity. I’m not going here into the details for *how* one makes the decision, for which there are many many models already proposed.

This process then repeats itself wrt the supporting claims, thus forming a chain of trust, which must ultimately stop (ie, be anchored) in some claims for which I either accept or reject “prima facie". In other words, I accept those claims as true -as “facts” - either because I trust the source, or because “I know they are true” from personal experience and therefore I don’t require further evidence.

This anchoring point, in my view, is ultimately based on *personal values*, and often is independent or even contradictory to “evidence” (e.g., “vaccines are against Nature’s way”).

I have observed that many statements reported in Twitter are of the type “John said that Bob said X”, and then the rebuttal is “Bob denies he said X”. As is often the case, there is no explicit record of Bob saying anything, or there is of Bob saying Z, which some will somehow interpret as being the same as X, or that Z implies X according to some reasoning “system”.
As usual, negations are very difficult to “prove”, and typically one resorts to “there is no evidence that…”.

Birdwatch will end up replicating these structures, with all the possible “weaponization” mechanisms already outlined by previous messages.

So, in my view, the best one can do is to make these “trust chains”, and the narrative structures around claims as explicit as possible, and let the reader make their choices. Notice that this entails, among other things, pointing out falacious reasoning, manipulative rhetoric (which are properties of the narratives) as well as the provenance of the claims.

But the health of the community will ultimately rely on its members...


> On 26 Jan 2021, at 02:39, Tom Jones <> wrote:
> sorry - i misspoke.
> let's try again.
> 1. some statement is made on an ethical web site.
> 2. the statement is challenged by whatever means that site allows.
> 3. the statement is removed until the poster gets a link that supports it. (note i did not say trusted this time.)
> 4.The statement is reposted with the link.
> 5. now anyone that sees the statement can make their own evaluation as to the trustworthiness of the link.
> Peace ..tom
> On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 8:48 PM Jacky Alcine <> wrote:
> Sadly trusted is subjective because, as history has shown, people will use "data" to their own means. See eugenics and scientific racism (both proven false and still upheld as truth by a lot of people).
> So no, it won't since this is a place that demands validation and results and it's harder to be a bigot in 2021 (thankfully or I'd be dead thanks to racism and xenophobia).
> On Mon, Jan 25, 2021, at 20:28, Tom Jones wrote:
> > this will wind up as a fight between the lablers of the left and the right.
> > would it not be better to ask users to post to a trusted source instead?
> > Peace ..tom
> > 
> > 
> > On Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 5:38 PM Bob Wyman < <>> wrote:
> > > Today, Twitter launched Birdwatch < <>> a system which, I think, should be relevant to the work of this group:
> > > 
> > >> "Birdwatch allows people to identify information in Tweets they believe is misleading and write notes that provide informative context. We believe this approach has the potential to respond quickly when misleading information spreads, adding context that people trust and find valuable. Eventually we aim to make notes visible directly on Tweets for the global Twitter audience, when there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors." Keith Coleman, Twitter Vice President of Product in "Introducing Birdwatch, a community-based approach to misinformation < <>>."
> > > 
> > > Has anyone had a chance to review Birdwatch? What do you think?
> > > 
> > > Useful links:
> > >  * Birdwatch Guide on GitHub < <>>
> > >  * Birdwatch on Twitter < <>> (signup to trial, see recent annotated tweets, etc.)
> > >  * Birdwatch Announcement < <>>
> > >  bob wyman
> > >

Received on Tuesday, 26 January 2021 14:20:49 UTC