YouTube To Use 'Information Cues' To Combat Fake News

Illustration by Alex Castro  The Verge

YouTube announced a quick fix for conspiracy theory videos on the platform, which should solve the problem at least temporarily: adding Wikipedia links to debunk the theories, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said Tuesday.

"We're always exploring new ways to battle misinformation on YouTube", said a YouTube spokeswoman, highlighting that Wikipedia will be just one of the third-party sources featured in the companion unit.

YouTube says the links will present an alternative viewpoint to videos questioning science or describing conspiracies about events such as the Moon landings. Talking to WIRED, Wojcicki explained that YouTube will initially focus on conspiracy theories that have a lot of discussion surrounding them: chemtrails, moon landings, fluoride and similar. She didn't provide a specific timeline for when the new features would roll out. Expect to see Wikipedia links in videos promoting conspiracy theories and issues that are very likely to spark heated debates. The linked information will be applied only to popular conspiracy topics, it seems. "If there is an important news event, we want to be delivering the right information", she said.

More news: California: Teacher's Gun Accidently Goes Off in Class Injuring Three Students

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.

Essentially, these "information cues" will be small cards that appear directl below videos in the YouTube app.

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

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