Sunday, 17 June, 2018

YouTube plans to add Wikipedia links below videos about controversial topics

Illustration by Alex Castro  The Verge Illustration by Alex Castro The Verge
Anna Jefferson | 14 March, 2018, 19:45

YouTube will flag conspiracy theory videos with additional information from Wikipedia in an effort to tackle the spread of disinformation on its platform. "When there are videos that are focused around something that's a conspiracy - and we're using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia - then we will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event", Wojcicki said. She didn't provide a specific timeline for when the new features would roll out.

YouTube will not block any conspiracy-theory content, however, unless it runs afoul of the video platform's community guidelines. The company did eventually remove the video suggesting Parkland survivor David Hogg was an actor and issued an apology.

However, simply placing links to verified information alongside conspiracy clips doesn't mean that users will actually click on them.

The move comes after a year in which YouTube has been pilloried for hosting extremist content and driving more attention to it through algorithmic recommendations that critics say are created to push viewers to extremes.

YouTube described the links to Wikipedia as "information cues" created to help users make informed decisions on the validity of the videos.

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Still, Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, and editors have often engaged in stellar bipartisan battles over controversial topics.

Susan Wojcicki, speaking on stage at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, displayed a mock-up of the new feature, which called "information cues".

Though music and gaming videos are far more popular on YouTube, the company has made addressing the criticism around news and science videos a top priority this year.

Take a walk through the halls of YouTube and you'll find all manner of conspiracy theories.

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