Published: Tue, July 10, 2018

YouTube to fight conspiracy theory videos by showing users Wikipedia links

YouTube to fight conspiracy theory videos by showing users Wikipedia links

YouTube's role in promoting conspiracy theories has flared up in recent months.

Within days of the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017, for instance, search results on the site promised videos suggesting that law enforcement had deceived the public, and that the shooting was a "false flag" attack staged by the government to bring in gun control. YouTube removed the clip within a few hours, citing violation of its policy on harassment and bullying.

To help with this contextualization, YouTube will also be teaming up with a variety of organizations that are dedicated to digital literacy education, particularly with MediaWise, which aims to help a million USA teens discern legitimate sources from fake news.

Company executives announced the effort at YouTube's NY offices. "That's why our Breaking News shelf highlights videos from news organizations about that event directly on the YouTube homepage".

That sum includes funding to help news organizations around the world build 'sustainable video operations, ' such as by training staff and improving production facilities. YouTube will also add more members to its team that supports news publishers.

"Starting today, users will begin seeing information from third parties, including Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica, alongside videos on a small number of well-established historical and scientific topics that have often been subject to misinformation, like the moon landing and the Oklahoma City Bombing", YouTube's chief product officer Neal Mohan and chief business officer Robert Kyncl said. As a result, over the next few weeks YouTube users in the US will see short previews in YouTube search results with links to the full news article. The Top News and Breaking News features are already available in 17 countries, including the USA, the U.K., France, Italy, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria.

YouTube's app and desktop client have begun implementing some new features in certain countries, with more expected to roll out over the coming months to a larger pool of regions.

YouTube also said it will commit $25 million over the next several years to improving news on YouTube and tackling "emerging challenges" such as misinformation. As part of "making authoritative sources readily available", search results for breaking events will feature a "short preview of news articles in search results on YouTube".

As part of the partnership with MediaWise, six YouTube creators - including John Green, Ingrid Nilsen and Mark Watson - will be creating videos meant to raise awareness about digital literacy and help educate teens about identifying legit sources of news and information.

Mohan said the new features are in effect in 17 countries, including the U.S., and "we're looking to double that number in the coming months". The company says it will double the number of countries that can access these features soon.

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