Diversity of perspectives

Birdwatch aims to identify notes that many people on Twitter will find helpful, including people with different points of view.

To find notes that are helpful to the broadest possible set of people, Birdwatch takes into account not only how many contributors rated a note as helpful or unhelpful, but also whether people who rated it seem to come from different perspectives.

Birdwatch assesses “different perspectives” entirely based on how people have rated notes in the past; Birdwatch does not ask about or use any other information to do this (e.g. demographics like location, gender, or political affiliation, or data from Twitter such as follows or Tweets). This is based on the intuition that Contributors who tend to rate the same notes similarly are likely to have more similar perspectives while contributors who rate notes differently are likely to have different perspectives. If people who typically disagree in their ratings agree that a given note is helpful, it’s probably a good indicator the note is helpful to people from different points of view.

This approach has a number of benefits. First, it reflects the reality that people’s views can be nuanced, rather than defined by demographics. Second, in support of Birdwatch’s focus on transparency, it allows people working with Birdwatch public data to replicate, analyze and audit how Birdwatch works, as it allows Birdwatch to run entirely on publicly available data.

We are constantly evaluating ways to improve this approach (and welcome suggestions) This current method has shown promising results in helping find quality notes: in surveys of people on Twitter in the US, the majority of respondents found notes that earned a status of “Helpful” by Birdwatch contributors to be “somewhat” or “extremely” helpful — this includes people from across the political spectrum.

If you’re interested in the math and code powering Birdwatch, take a look at our Note Ranking: Under the Hood section.