Musk, Dorsey trade barbs about Birdwatch feature

Elon Musk and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey argued on Sunday over Musk’s decision to rename the platform’s feature that allows users to write contextual notes on misleading tweets.

Musk in a tweet said his mission for Twitter is for the platform to “become by far the most accurate source of information about the world,” sparking a series of back-and-forth messages that started with Dorsey asking “accurate to who?”

“As judged by the people of Twitter via Community Notes (formerly Birdwatch),” Musk wrote back.

“I still think…Birdwatch is a far better name and ‘more informative’ a far better goal,” Dorsey subsequently responded.

In January of last year, Twitter introduced the Birdwatch feature, which was initially piloted on a different site and enables contributors to write notes on tweets they believe are misleading.

Other contributors can then rate the note, and if a consensus forms among people who have sometimes disagreed in the past that the context is helpful, the note appears for all users viewing the tweet.

Musk, who closed his $44 billion Twitter takeover deal late last month and has signaled he will relax the site’s content moderation policies, indicated he didn’t like the feature’s existing name.

“Birdwatch gives me the creeps,” Musk wrote to Dorsey.

“Community notes is the most boring Facebook name ever,” Dorsey shot back.

“Not everything needs to have ‘bird’ in the name! Too many bird groups fighting each internally other at Twitter. Angry Birds,” Musk responded.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s desire to change Twitter’s content moderation policies has raised alarm among civil rights groups who believe the changes will cause an increase in misinformation and hate speech on the platform.

Musk has already announced sweeping changes to Twitter, including mass layoffs across the company, adjustments to the platform’s rules and the introduction of a monthly subscription to gain verification.

The Sunday exchange between Musk and Dorsey also caught the eye of billionaire Mark Cuban, who offered his own suggestion for Musk on the new subscriptions.

“You might consider proactively offering your $8 verification program for free to those you deem the most accurate Notes contributors. Won’t be easy to confirm accuracy. But if AI can try to model out bias, maybe it can model in accuracy?” Cuban tweeted.

“$8 for all,” Musk responded.

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