Birdwatch: Crowd Wisdom and Bridging Algorithms can Inform Understanding and Reduce the Spread of Misinformation
We present an approach for selecting objectively informative and subjectively helpful annotations to social media posts. We draw on data from on an online environment where contributors annotate misinformation and simultaneously rate the contributions of others. Our algorithm uses a matrix-factorization (MF) based approach to identify annotations that appeal broadly across heterogeneous user groups - sometimes referred to as "bridging-based ranking." We pair these data with a survey experiment in which individuals are randomly assigned to see annotations to posts. We find that annotations selected by the algorithm improve key indicators compared with overall average and crowd-generated baselines. Further, when deployed on Twitter, people who saw annotations selected through this bridging-based approach were significantly less likely to reshare social media posts than those who did not see the annotations.