X Enhances Community Notes Program and Introduces 'Top Writer' Badge to Recognize Highly Rated Contributors

The X team is actively extending the reach of its Community Notes feature, now allowing users in 18 additional regions to apply and participate in the volunteer moderation program.


As mentioned by X, the availability of Community Notes has now expanded to encompass 44 regions, significantly broadening the program's reach and capabilities.

Users can now apply to join the Community Notes team, granting them the ability to contribute contextual notes and links to false or misleading content within the app. These notes are then subject to review by other Community Notes team members. Upon approval, the additional information is appended to the tweet, aiding in curbing the dissemination of false claims.

Furthermore, X is introducing a new 'Top Writer' badge, which aims to enhance the credibility of notes provided by highly rated contributors. This badge will acknowledge and highlight the valuable input from these dedicated individuals.

Indeed, the introduction of the 'Top Writer' badge could lead to Top Writer notes gaining greater consensus and prominence within the app, making them more likely to be displayed when necessary. This recognition would emphasize the significance of their contributions and elevate the trustworthiness of their notes among the user community.

Community Notes has emerged as a pivotal aspect of Elon Musk's 'freedom of speech, not reach' ethos at the newly re-branded X app. The platform increasingly relies on Community Notes to serve as a means of regulating true and false content, as determined by the X community.

While Community Notes have proven effective in deterring the spread of misinformation, it is not always an ideal solution, especially if the platform is moving away from human moderation. Despite reducing 80% of its workforce, Elon claims that X has not significantly reduced its moderation staff. Nevertheless, AI-generated content has been regularly and accurately noted by the system.

However, there are significant flaws in the broader system. According to analysis by the Poynter Institute, the vast majority of Community Notes created are not viewable in the app. This is due to the structure of the Community Notes review system, which necessitates consensus from users with opposing perspectives for a note to be displayed. This effectively requires 'ideological consensus,' meaning that users from both the political left and right must agree on the necessity of a note for it to be shown.

As mentioned by Poynter’s Alex Mahadevan: “Essentially, it requires a cross-ideological agreement on truth, and in an increasingly partisan environment, achieving that consensus is almost impossible.”

Twitter uses past behavior in the app to determine a Notes contributor's political leaning, which might not always be the most accurate proxy. Nevertheless, based on this information, the system requires responses from both sides to approve a note.

Poynter's research revealed that this approach has been effective in highlighting low-stakes content, such as clarifying humorous or satirical tweets, or identifying AI-generated images - topics on which most users generally agree. However, for some of the most harmful misinformation or divisive issues, like COVID vaccine impacts, election interference, or gender debates, obtaining critical consensus becomes extremely challenging. Consequently, the majority of Community Notes, where they are most needed, remain undisplayed.

Earlier this week, users experienced the impact of this system when a tweet from Elon Musk about COVID vaccines was Community Noted, only to have that note disappear from the app a day later.

The removal of the note prompted many to speculate that Musk had compelled his team to take it down. However, the truth is that the note was removed due to the Community Notes voting system, which, as mentioned earlier, necessitates consensus from users with opposing perspectives to keep a note displayed.

The notes system, while intended to police misinformation, has shown mixed reliability. With the X team increasing its focus on this aspect, it may result in misleading tweets persisting in the app, despite contributors attempting to flag them.

Although Community Notes can offer benefits in certain scenarios, research indicates that it falls short in many critical areas. Implementing additional secondary checking measures could help reduce exposure to misinformation. However, Elon Musk is unlikely to be open to such measures, given the cost savings of relying on volunteer contributions and his overarching approach to free speech. Yet, in its efforts to regain advertisers, X may need an improved system to ensure safe ad placement.

Currently, X is pressing forward with the broader expansion of Community Notes, accompanied by additional tweaks to refine the system. While it remains valuable, especially considering the rising prevalence of AI-generated images on the web, it may not be the all-encompassing solution that X hopes for.

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