YouTube today announced a series of changes to its video platform to value real-life news content and combat misinformation and false news. For this, YouTube’s website and apps should bring at least three important news.
The YouTube home page will gain sections dedicated to news coming from trusted sources, with credibility determined by Google’s own search algorithm. The channel identity will be cross-referenced with source citation history by other publications, among other variables. With that, YouTube will seek to give preference to professional journalism instead of promoting videos of entertainment channels that happened to talk about some news event.
There will also be changes to the YouTube search screen. When researching some important historical fact on YouTube, such as landing on the Moon by NASA, viewers will see a first result in text from sources such as Wikipedia for example. The idea is to show “official” information before any other video.
The first videos in the search result will also be sorted according to the credibility of the source, basically following the same criteria used to put professional journalism videos on the YouTube home screen.
The third change has to do with developing news, of events being covered by the press on an ongoing basis. During shootings in the US, many liar videos or hunting clicks ended up appearing in the results before news agency reports of credibility, spreading misinformation. Now, when someone searches for this kind of event on YouTube, the platform may first show some articles written before the videos, all from trusted posts.
This should help prevent the spread of fake news on YouTube. That’s because at times like coverage of an important event, journalists usually focus their efforts initially on writing detailed articles. Only then do they worry about the longer and longer production of videos. In the meantime, however, it is perfectly possible for non-professional channels to begin publishing inaccurate or lying content about the event.
All these news were already being tested by YouTube with some users, but, from now on, will be gradually distributed to all viewers of the platform. “YouTube has a responsibility to make available trusted sources right away, to deliver content to help people make their own decisions and support journalism with technology that makes the news thrive,” said YouTube product manager Neal Mohan in an official statement on the news.