In the coming weeks, YouTube is set to begin displaying links to fact-based Wikipedia content, so as to combat online conspiracy theories. This is an attempt by Google’s video site to curb the spread of misinformation and hoax.
The move comes amid criticism that YouTube and some other tech companies have allowed hoax and conspiracy theories to spread on their platforms. But with this new development, videos propagating conspiracy theories about events will now be accompanied by text from Wikipedia providing facts that counter the information.
Susan Wojcicki, Chief Executive Officer of YouTube, has said people can still watch the videos, but would have access to additional information.
How Would it Work?
Now, if you search and click on a conspiracy theory video about, say, Global warming or Cultism, YouTube will link you up to a Wikipedia page that debunks the hoax that was displayed in the video. This section is called “Information Cues”. Although currently, only conspiracy theories that have an active debate on the platform will display this feature, but it will soon be available for all hoax and fake news.
A Partnership with Wikipedia?
However, Wikimedia, the hosts of the Wikipedia site, had said in a statement that it wasn’t given advanced notice before YouTube’s announcement to feature its site.
— Wikimedia Foundation (@Wikimedia) March 14, 2018
However, YouTube told CNN that the announcement was not a partnership with Wikipedia but just an effort to tackle misinformation.
YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced months of scrutiny for inappropriate and misleading information on the site. A recent video promoting a conspiracy theory about a school shooting was the site’s top trending video for a few hours before being removed.
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