The video streaming service of Alphabet, YouTube has announced on Tuesday that it will start showing text and links from third-party fact-checkers to US viewers as an attempt to curb misinformation on the site during the COVID pandemic. There have already been information panels in Brazil and India since last year which highlighted third-party verified articles above search results for searches or topics such as “covid and ibuprofen” or claims about “COVID is a bio-weapon”, this also appears for specific searches such as “did a tornado hit Los Angeles”
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According to a blog by YouTube the company claims that to enable this Youtube Fact Check Feature, more than a dozen US publishers are participating in its fact-checking network. These networks include FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, and The Washington Post Face Checker. The company expressed the inability to share a full list of fact-checking partners at the moment but claims to have a secure network. Back in 2018, YouTube started displaying these information panels that surfaced links to sources such as Encyclopaedia Britannica for topics that are considered prone to misinformation such as “flat earth” theories and other such content
In Tuesday’s blog post, YouTube posted that the panels would now help address misinformation in a fast-moving news cycle. The website has also started linking to the World Health Organization, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, or local health authorities for videos and search related to COVID-19. YouTube hasn’t specified how many search terms would prompt the fact-check boxes, it also said that it would “take some more time for our systems to fully ramp up” as it rolls out the fact-checking feature.
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This feature only seems to appear on the searches, though the company has previously said that the recommendation feature used encourages to watch videos similar to those that the users have spent significant time viewing in the past drives the majority of overall “watch time”. YouTube has also started reducing recommendations of borderline content or videos that could misinform users in a harmful way such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness since January.