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The new moderators of X (Twitter) are its users!

August 24, 2023

This is the new feature of X (formerly Twitter) that you may have seen in your feed. We explain its purpose and how it works.

What is the purpose of community ratings?  

The aim of Community Notes is to combat misinformation by involving X users. So it’s a collaborative tool that lets you add a note that will be visible to everyone below a tweet that contains incomplete, erroneous, or even misleading information. 

This last point is special since the ads are supposed to be validated by the company’s sales and legal teams. Misleading ads that receive community ratings present, for example, videos as excerpts from games that are not similar to the gameplay. 

Community notes take this form:

    Notes de communauté

How do community notes work?

Employees who are members of this community can write notes under all the tweets they see. To prevent abuse, X has defined 3 categories: 

Useful, Partially useful, Unnecessary. 

There are also sub-categories to justify the existence of the note: 

  • The tweet is clear
  • directly repeats the message of the tweet
  • cites reliable sources 
  • Adds important context 
  • Opinion
  • Other

If the note is judged partly helpful or not valid, the sub-categories will globally repeat these same criteria but in a negative sense (spelling mistakes, unreliable sources…). 

If the note is deemed useful by the reviewers, it will be displayed below the tweet as follows: 

Note de communauté utile

Notes deemed useless or partially useless will only be visible to members of this community. Notes rated as useless are often second-degree jokes:

Tweet Secon degrès Twitter
Note de communauté jugée inutile

Who are the members of the Notes X community? 

This is a crucial question. As this is a collaborative tool, the law of the greatest number prevails. So, to avoid seeing notes with wrong information below posts, X has set up an evaluation system. 

X will invite different Internet users to join the community, but will not base this on information such as your political views, your location, your age, your gender… But on how you have rated the notes in the past, your rating will be compared to other contributors with similar but different views. 

In this way, if a sufficient number of contributors from different points of view consider the rating to be helpful, it will be displayed to all users.

Why implement such a feature? 

As stated above, the aim of this feature is to curb the sharing of fake news, a point of great importance to the European Union, which has established a regulation called the Digital Services Act (DSA) that will come into force in 2024. So perhaps this tool will be deemed sufficient by the EU for this issue. Social networks that fail to comply with this charter are likely to be banned. 

The end of X (Twitter)?

Spoiler, This will surely not be enough, because even if it does manage to curb misinformation, the fight against online harassment leaves much to be desired. X received a C- grade from the Anti-Defamation League, an American non-governmental organization, for its fight against hate messages on its platform. 

Another tangible reason would be to reduce X’s costs: by getting its users to contribute, the platform is no longer obliged to have and pay teams of moderators; teams that were already greatly reduced when Elon Musk arrived.


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