Twitter users debunked a claim made by Politifact on Wednesday about American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, contending she advocated for reopening schools during COVID.
Community Notes, a feature on Twitter that allows a crowd-based solution to collaboratively add context to potentially misleading Tweets without third-party groups, such as the American nonprofit group Politifact, fact-checked the organization for misrepresenting Weingarten’s positions on reopening schools fully during the pandemic with safety measures.
“Teachers union President Randi Weingarten advocated for reopening schools with pandemic safety measures,” Politifact wrote in a tweet with an article link. “She criticized the Trump administration’s 2020 calls to reopen schools fully, but it’s misleading to claim that she opposed reopening at all.”
Teachers union President Randi Weingarten advocated for reopening schools with pandemic safety measures. She criticized the Trump administration’s 2020 calls to reopen schools fully, but it’s misleading to claim that she opposed reopening at all. https://t.co/Km8FkMkXd2
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) May 3, 2023
Within hours of Politifact tweeting its version of history during the pandemic, Twitter users activated Community Notes to add more context that readers ought to know, including a list of articles from The Guardian, The New York Times, and Education Week that invalidated both Weingarten and Politifact.
Weingarten contended last month that her union neither extended COVID lockdowns, which shuttered government schools for several months, nor improperly helped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) draft their pandemic response policies.
She told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic last week that the Biden administration’s transition team solicited advice on school closures during the COVID pandemic, preceding a sweeping CDC guidance that critics have faulted for keeping children out of classrooms for too long.
Despite Weingarten’s claims, students of all ages suffered massive learning losses and detrimental mental health issues as schools nationwide remained closed in the name of health and safety — backed mainly by teachers unions.
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Twitter CEO Elon Musk added Community Notes on the platform after his $44 billion purchase in October 2022, which has since unveiled an alleged censorship campaign by the U.S. government. The revelations revealed through the “Twitter Files” showed internal company documents and communications released across several installments by multiple journalists.
Twitter under Musk continues to fight against suspected corrupt mergers between legacy media corporations and federal and state governments.
Community Notes has garnered criticism from legacy media and government officials, while citizens praise the feature for restoring balance. Musk himself said recently that the “power” of Community Notes aims to “combat actual disinformation.”
The power of @CommunityNotes to combat actual disinformation is incredible.
At its core, it requires people with diverse viewpoints to agree that a note is valid before it is shown.
Very hard to game and fully open source.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 3, 2023
“At its core, it requires people with diverse viewpoints to agree that a note is valid before it is shown,” Musk said. “Very hard to game and fully open source.”