In an effort to close the stable door long after the horse has bolted, YouTube announced on Tuesday that it plans to roll out “fact check information panels” on their platform in the United States. The company instituted similar fake news detectors in Brazil and India last year. The recent rise in misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the origins of the virus, and the potential of over-the-counter cures seems to have inspired them to bring the feature to American users.
“Our fact check information panels provide fresh context in these situations by highlighting relevant third-party fact-checked articles above search results for relevant queries, so that our viewers can make their own informed decision about claims made in the news,” the company writes in a new blog post.
Essentially, this means any time you search on YouTube for a trending piece of fake news, like, say, “coronavirus bleach cure,” you’ll see a curated notification at the top of your screen explaining why the story is BS and helpfully linking you to a relevant source. A number of third-party publishers are assisting the company in their efforts, including The Dispatch, FactCheck.org, Politifact, and the Washington Post Fact Checker. YouTube also plans to donate one million dollars to the International Fact-Checking Network in order to further support information verification efforts around the world.
While YouTube might be a little late to the party when it comes to stopping the spread of misinformation on their website, the company has clearly been making an effort in the last few years to get harmful content off of their platform, including demonetizing bizarre videos aimed at kids and banning lunatic grifters like Alex Jones. This latest initiative will take a little time to be fully operational but will continue to improve over time. So, the country should have a relatively well-informed populous sometime around the 2028 general election.
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