Along with the release of its new feature, Moments, Twitter shared a set of guidelines and principles that drive the curation team that powers it, as well as its external partners. Algorithms only pop up what’s trending; it’s up to human beings to assemble these Moments.
While Twitter isn’t becoming a news organization itself, Moments does have them dabbling in a curation space that’s mighty mighty close. The company wants you to know that the Moments curation team aren’t journalists, though:
Our own curators do not act as reporters or creators of original content; instead, they organize and present compelling content that already exists on Twitter in a straightforward, easy-to-consume way.
One could argue that the choice and presentation of a Moment could be a function of what a journalist does. However, Twitter employees aren’t interjecting their own thoughts. But partners? It could get sticky.
Moments also should be bias-free:
Individual moments should be free from bias. We will use data-driven decision making when choosing Tweets around controversial topics, and highlight the Tweets already receiving the most engagement on Twitter. On topics which reflect public debate, we will select Tweets that represent all sides of the argument or story where feasible. Twitter should not advance its own viewpoint, but rather reflect the discussion as it appears on our platform.
They should also, you know, be accurate.
Most importantly, Twitter wants you to know that its Moments curation team avoids conflicts of interest at all costs:
Our Moments curation team is not responsible for driving revenue, user growth, or managing Twitter’s partner relationships. We will feature Tweets in Moments and select Moments based on what best serves our audience, and not to benefit advertisers, partners, or Twitter’s business interests. We will generally avoid creating Moments that cover our own industry, our company, or our competitors.
That means that even if, say, BuzzFeed has a killer Moment that it put together, the curation team can still nix it. Even if they’re a content “partner.”
It’ll be interesting to see how all of this plays out as more partners are brought on to the Moments platform. Will there be preferential treatment real or otherwise? What if someone’s tweet gets used in a Moment but they don’t want to be a part of it?
Technically they don’t have a choice since their tweet was public, but you get the idea. There could also be a Moment that turns out to be complete bunk, and backing out of that can’t consist of simply blaming a news outlet.
Right now the publications that Twitter are working with are Bleacher Report, BuzzFeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post. Feel free to tweet at @Twitter to add TechCrunch.
For more on what Moments means for new users, advertisers, and publishers, read our follow-up:
“9 Big Unanswered Questions About Twitter Moments“