YouTube Will Soon ‘Fact Check’ Videos Deemed As ‘Misinformation’

Mar 8
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One can’t deny that there’s a lot of crazy stuff out there that tries to pass off as ‘fact’, which is why YouTube is testing out a new feature which shows fact-check warnings when searching for content known to spread misinformation. The feature is currently live for some users in India and shows “information panels” on search results which provide disclaimers acquired from YouTube’s fact-checking partners.

A spokesperson from YouTube told BuzzFeed: “As part of our ongoing efforts to build a better news experience on YouTube, we are expanding our information panels to bring fact checks from eligible publishers to YouTube.” The feature is already live for a limited number of users in India and it only works for searches in English and Hindi. The feature will be rolling out to a wider audience later.

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The company will use information from about half a dozen verified fact-checking services in India to show these panels and they are the same ones being used by Facebook. The actual videos containing misinformation won’t suffer any change themselves. Instead, the new information panels will serve as a disclaimer that the information in videos associated with a given query may be contentious or misleading. A lot of Indian users are now online thanks to wireless penetration and easy availability of low-cost 4G-enabled smartphones, which may have prompted YouTube to test the feature in India.

Once rolled out internationally, the move will definitely ruffle some feathers. Many people will scream “censorship”, and they won’t be wrong. We already have too many instances of big tech companies telling us what to think and banning anyone who engages in ‘wrongthink’. This is yet another instance of tech companies telling us, “hey you’re too dumb to figure out if this is fake or real, let us decide for you”.

The only possible good that I can think of is YouTube fact-checking anti-vaccination videos. At the very least, the feature isn’t obstructive in the slightest and you just whizz past it.

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