X’s Community Notes is proving effective in fight against misinformation

Credit: Elon Musk/X

Elon Musk’s takeover of social media platform Twitter was among the most dramatic in recent years. Upon taking control of the platform, Musk proceeded to cut the company’s workforce. He also got rid of the company’s behind-the-scenes moderators, with the Tesla CEO stating that Twitter would be focusing on using Community Notes to fight misinformation instead. 

Unlike Twitter’s legacy anti-misinformation efforts, which relied on fact checkers whose identities and credentials were unknown, Community Notes, like its name suggests, is a crowdsourced system that allowed users of the social media platform to flag misleading posts and add corrective commentary. These commentaries are typically accompanied by links to scientific papers or legitimate media sources.

Interestingly enough, several studies have pitted crowdsourcing against professional fact-checkers, and the results suggested that crowdsourced systems could work just as well when it comes to assessing the accuracy of news stories, as noted in a Bloomberg News report. And as per an academic review that was posted at the Journal of the American Medical Association, it appears that Community Notes is doing just that — it’s working on X, at least for scientific topics.

Physician John Ayers of the University of California, San Diego, and his team looked specifically into the accuracy of posts on X about COVID-19 vaccines in their study, and they found that not only were Community Notes’ corrections almost always accurate, but they also tended to cite high-quality sources. From a sample of 205 Community Notes about Covid-19 vaccines, for example, it was found that 96% were accurate. Sources listed in the Community Notes were found to be high quality 87% of the time as well. 

Of course, Community Notes is not a perfect system. Hate speech and incitements to violence could be presented in a way that avoids corrections from Community Notes. Despite this, it is evident that the crowdsourced anti-misinformation system is doing some good. Ayers, for one, noted that while only a small number of misleading posts were flagged by Community Notes in his team’s study, the posts that did get a note attached to them were among the most vital. 

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X’s Community Notes is proving effective in fight against misinformation
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