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YouTube releases plan to fight back against misinformation videos

The video sharing platform is taking action against users trying to spread propaganda

Photo (c) ozgurdonmaz - Getty Images
In an effort to prevent users from uploading and spreading false information in times of crisis, YouTube is rolling out a new plan to help the public get accurate information.

Recently, whenever there’s a breaking news story, a slew of videos full of misinformation start circling around YouTube. While many individuals are just looking for the news, these misleading videos leave many misinformed and confused. However, the trend is set to end soon.

“We’re making changes to put more authoritative content in front of people,” said YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan.

Changes ahead

Moving forward, YouTube is striving to show users the importance of being an ally to news reporters. The platform has outlined a number of new investments and improvements that it will be implementing.

According to Mohan, YouTube’s recommendation engine has been altered to allow news-related videos from reputable outlets to appear first. He referenced a recent issue of conspiracy theory videos cropping up on the website following incidents like school shootings and other tragedies.

“It’s very easy to quickly produce and upload low-quality videos spreading misinformation around a developing news event,” Mohan said.

Mohan also noted that it’s harder to produce accurate videos in that short a timeframe. To combat this issue, YouTube will be releasing a “new information panel.” This will appear at the top of the search results and show developing news stories. Mohan said this new feature will “be activated in the immediate aftermath of the event.”

To make sure users are getting the most accurate information, YouTube’s new algorithm won’t show a video first. Instead, users will first be directed to a news article sourced by Google News. The results will also feature a banner informing users that the story is still in the developing stages and that information is “subject to change.”

The new feature is currently available in 17 countries, and Mohan said that YouTube is looking to expand, as the company hopes to “double that number” in the coming months.

Staying connected

As Google is YouTube’s parent company, these changes come as part of a three-year, $300 million Google News initiative. According to YouTube, $25 million will go to “innovation funding” grants for news organization, as well as for more support staff.

According to Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer, the efforts are designed to set up “long-term sustainable skills” for web videos. Additionally, Kyncl discussed YouTube’s new “working group” for executives and representatives of news outlets to “help shape the future of news on YouTube.”

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