Musk explains how X corrects inaccurate posts with community notes

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Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer of X (formerly Twitter), has said the platform introduced “Community Notes” to achieve a consensus-driven and non-censoring approach to ensuring accurate information on the platform.

He revealed this on Friday, November 3rd, 2023 during a conversation with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak.

Recall that the platform has come under heavy criticisms from European Union and fact-checkers on how the platform’s policies amplify the spread of misinformation.

As part of its style of tackling misinformation on the platform, Musk had introduced community notes, a feature which helps people to provide context and flag misleading information and tweets on the platform. Recently, he announced that the platform will stop paying creators for posts corrected by the feature.

Speaking on the feature during the conversation, Musk said appointing an individual with biases as a censor gives them the power to control the flow of information and to avoid such, the platform introduced the concept of “Community Notes,” which employ people as correctors of misleading contents on the platform.

Musk explained that Community Notes differ from traditional censorship as they don’t delete content but instead provide additional context.

“But importantly, with Community Notes, everything is open source. So, you can see the software—every line of the software, all the data that went into a Community Note—and you can independently create that Community Note. If you see manipulation of the data, you can highlight that and say, “Well, this has to be some gaming of the system,” and you can suggest improvements. It’s maximum transparency, combined with the wisdom of the crowds,” he said.

He also emphasized importance of transparency and roles of Artificial Intelligence as a means to attain more accurate answers highlighting the unique feature of Community Notes which requires agreement from individuals with a history of disagreement for a note to be displayed. 

“There’s a populated parameter space around each contributor to Community Notes. Everyone has these vectors associated with them, which are not as simple as right or left; it’s several hundred vectors because things are more complicated than something being right or left. We then do an inverse correlation, saying, ‘Okay, these people generally disagree, but they agree about this note.’ That gives the note credibility,” he said.

Reflecting on the platform’s performance, he expressed confidence in its effectiveness, noting that the platform barely allows incorrect notes to spend more than a few hours. 

In response to concerns about the potential spread of disinformation through Community Notes, Musk challenged critics to provide instances, emphasizing the platform’s success in maintaining accuracy.

He explained that the overall goal of the platform is to inform and entertain the public while prioritizing accuracy and truthfulness. He expressed optimism that, by remaining committed to the truth, people would use the system to stay informed about current events.

Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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