Google-owned YouTube to invest $25mn in countering fake news

Clay Curtis
July 12, 2018

The platform will also introduce an "information panel" which promotes verified content, including that from local sources, when people view videos.

Through YouTube, Google is helping journalism thrive as a vital step in combating the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories.

The decision comes ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections, a time when other social media sites are under scrutiny for potentially impacting political outcomes fueled by false information.

The feature that users will be able to see today comes in the form of info cards atop YouTube search results. When users search for videos about a big event or a breaking news story, a snippet of a published article from a third-party news source will appear at the top of the search results.

YouTube said it would expand its support team for news publishers, and provide additional sources and context on breaking news.

Titled "Developing news" it will appear immediately under the search field, above the list of video results.

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YouTube also has begun testing features that distribute local news in the YouTube app for connected TVs across 25 media markets in the U.S.

Following a year in which YouTube has repeatedly promoted conspiracy-theory videos during breaking news events like the shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Las Vegas, the company announced on Monday a slew of new features it hopes will make news on the platform more reliable and less susceptible to manipulation.

Finally, Google says that it's going to start showing info cards from sources like Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica alongside "a small number of well-established historical and scientific topics that have often been subject to misinformation". These features are already in 17 countries including the US, UK, France, Nigeria and Italy. These features will be available in twice as many regions in the coming months, according to the post.

Google announced the Google News Initiative, which sought to improve news literacy, in March. John Green, Ingrid Nilsen and Mark Watson will work with MediaWise to educate teenagers about digital media literacy.

YouTube said news organisations of all types can apply to the grant, which can be used to build key capabilities, train staff on video best practices, enhance production facilities and develop formats optimised for online video.

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