Is Neighborhood Notes the singular resolution to efficient content material moderation on social apps? No.
Is it a useful complement that may help in addressing numerous types of misinformation and misrepresentation, whereas additionally enabling customers to higher spotlight considerations in posts? Undoubtedly.
The problem lies someplace in between, as Elon seems to be to push Notes as X’s main safety net to address all types of concerns, whereas analysts proceed to highlight flaws in the Community Notes system, which is resulting in extra deceptive content material being amplified within the app.
Although it will assist.
Right this moment, X has announced that it’ll now distribute extra notifications to customers who’ve engaged with a put up that’s later had a Neighborhood Observe appended.
As per X:
“Typically a word seems on a put up after you’ve seen it. To assist, Neighborhood Notes sends notifications to individuals who have engaged with a put up that later receives a word. We’ve now scaled it as much as deal with even probably the most seen and highly-engaged posts, so extra of you’ll be (and are already) seeing these.”
This can be a good addition, which is able to assist to as a minimum elevate questions amongst X customers concerning the content material that they’ve seen, replied to, Preferred, and many others.
If a put up, for instance, gave them the impression that one thing had occurred, when it truly hadn’t, these sorts of follow-ups might be very efficient in slowing the unfold of false studies, which might additionally embrace deepfakes, AI-generated photos, and many others.
There’s a lot to love about Neighborhood Notes on this respect. However once more, the issue just isn’t a lot that the Notes are overly unreliable, nor that they don’t serve a objective. It’s greater than X is placing an excessive amount of religion within the course of being the savior for its misinformation points, by letting customers resolve what’s true and what’s not, with out X administration stepping in, or no less than, not stepping in on the similar stage that Twitter’s previous well being and security workforce had been.
However quite a lot of this comes right down to notion. As per its “Twitter Files” internal exploration shortly after the corporate modified fingers, Elon and Co. outlined what they perceived to be huge corruption in data circulation, because the previous Twitter workforce sought to suppress sure data on the behest of presidency officers.
However that’s probably not what the paperwork confirmed. What the insights did present is that Twitter’s well being and security workforce labored with numerous official authorities to make sure that it remained conscious of associated considerations. A few of these it actioned, most it didn’t, however the studies demonstrated what most would view as a accountable method to managing key discussions, and the amplification of such, via official partnerships that would have some bearing on future technique.
The issue is, this additionally concerned a problem that Elon himself believes was a conspiracy idea, within the COVID pandemic.
In coping with COVID, the Twitter workforce made choices primarily based on the perfect data it had on the time, and on reflection, a few of these calls might not have been appropriate. However that’s on reflection, and within the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, the workforce have been doing what they may. However that’s all of the proof that Elon and his workforce wanted to flag this as mass censorship, marking Twitter as a car for “accepted narratives”, which he’s now decided that X won’t ever be.
Which is why he needs Neighborhood Notes to work, in order that some data deemed unfaithful, false, deceptive, a few of that can nonetheless get via. As a result of you’ll be able to’t belief the mainstream dialogue, however you’ll be able to belief the folks, in Musk’s view.
The issue with that’s Neighborhood Notes doesn’t actually work in highlighting quite a lot of misinformation as a result of it’s primarily based on political consensus, that means that individuals from each side of the political spectrum must agree on notes earlier than they’re displayed.
On a spread of extremely divisive points, that settlement won’t ever come. Like COVID, the warfare in Israel, the warfare in Ukraine, border safety, and many others. A few of these are hardline matters, that nobody’s going to concede. So related Notes are by no means proven, and by no means seen, resulting in broad circulation of deceptive claims, primarily based on X’s personal system.
Is that a greater end result than having X’s personal workforce step in? It’s unattainable to say, however I do really feel that, in some unspecified time in the future, that is going to result in important points in consequence.
So whereas there are good factors to the method, and there’s a particular worth in Neighborhood Notes, and notifications like these new retrospective prompts, the method just isn’t what Elon and Co. suppose. Which might be problematic.
Conceptually, there’s a logic there, and different approaches, like Reddit’s up and downvotes system, have offered comparable outcomes.
However Neighborhood Notes is unlikely to be the protect that Musk appears to imagine, or wish to imagine, as he reforms the app.