Twitter is improving the way it keeps users informed about trending topics via a collaboration with The Associated Press (AP) and Reuters.
Teaming up with AP and Reuters will allow Twitter to increase the scale and speed at which it provides context to popular topics of conversation.
Currently, Twitter explains top trends on a limited scale. This is accomplished by attaching additional information to the trend such as a Twitter Moment, a single tweet, or a written description.
Twitter aims to bolster the delivery of this information in a few key ways:
Scale: Users can expect to see more contextual descriptions about Twitter trends going forward.
Speed: Information about popular topics of conversation will be provided in real-time as they emerge.
Accuracy: This collaboration will make it possible for Twitter to deliver accurate information when facts are in dispute.
Trustworthiness: Links to reports from trusted sources will be provided more frequently.
In addition, Twitter will attempt to provide information about topics before they go viral.
When there’s potential for the topic to generate misleading information, Twitter will try to get the facts out there before the misinformation spreads.
“Rather than waiting until something goes viral, Twitter will contextualize developing discourse at pace with or in anticipation of the public conversation.”
Twitter first rolled out explanations for trending topics back in September 2020. While helpful at times, they’re not displayed for all trends and they certainly don’t appear in real-time.
The issues with speed and scale are getting addressed by the AP & Reuters collaboration, as is another thing Twitter needs help with — factchecking.
A lot of work goes into factchecking viral web content, and Twitter doesn’t have the resources to do it internally. Even Facebook outsources its factchecking.
Currently it’s Twitter’s curation team who is responsible for adding explanations to trending topics, and they don’t have the expertise of investigative journalists.
That’s where AP & Reuters come in. Now, Twitter has the resources on hand to get the facts out there before misinformation spreads too far.
During this initial phase of the program, AP and Reuters will focus on English-language content.
Twitter says these efforts will grow over time to provide support across languages and timezones around the world.
“We are committed to making sure that when people come to Twitter to see what’s happening, they are able to easily find reliable information. Twitter will be able to expand the scale and increase the speed of our efforts to provide timely, authoritative context across the wide range of global topics and conversations that happen on Twitter every day.”