YouTube is working with news organizations to deem “authoritative” and “quality” news sources in an effort to combat fake news and conspiracy theories.
“[W]e’re announcing steps we’re taking with the GNI [Google News Initiative] to support the future of news in online video, and product features we’ve been working on to improve the news experience on YouTube,” company executives announced on Monday.
Owned by Google, YouTube is committing $25 million to the cause in three areas: paying experts to review the news, donating money for innovation and financially supporting news outlets it considers credible and in need of monetary support.
YouTube will also change its format to fit the new format, which will show approved videos at the top of search results for news-related searches and also includes a breaking news section of YouTube-approved videos on the homepage. The company is set to debut the new format in the coming weeks.
“Journalists often write articles first to break the news rather than produce videos,” the company executives wrote. “That’s why in the coming weeks in the U.S. we will start providing a short preview of news articles in search results on YouTube that link to the full article during the initial hours of a major news event, along with a reminder that breaking and developing news can rapidly change.”
As the world’s largest video-sharing platform, videos that receive a large number of views have the ability to earn a profit. YouTube said it wants to support credible news organizations earn money in a sector plagued by financial problems.
“We believe quality journalism requires sustainable revenue streams and that we have a responsibility to support innovation in products and funding for news,” wrote YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan and Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl.
Experts YouTube considers are Vox Media, Jovem Pan and India Today.
“We’re establishing a working group with news organizations and experts from around the world to help us develop new product features, improve the news experience on YouTube, and tackle emerging challenges,” the video-sharing platform added.
The company said it will expand the number of outlets it will work with in the coming weeks.
YouTube’s grants to help innovation will “enable our partners to build key capabilities, train staff on video best practices, enhance production facilities and develop formats optimized for online video.”
YouTube has come under fire for its trending section promoting conspiracy theories.
In one case, as reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation, the top trending video was a local news outlet interviewing Parkland, Florida, shooting survivor David Hogg about his friend getting into trouble with the police at a beach.
The video, “Confrontation Between Lifeguard, Bodysurfer Caught On Camera In Redondo Beach Goes Viral,” itself was not conspiratorial, as it was a real interview. What was considered conspiratorial was the video’s description, which said, “DAVID HOGG THE ACTOR….”
The video launches a conspiracy that Hogg is a crisis actor meant to prop up anti-gun legislation in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland. Check Your Fact verified that this is a false conclusion.
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