YouTube just unveiled a plan to combat phony conspiracy videos intended to manipulate or defraud viewers.
On the company blog today, they announced new features targeted at making YouTube a more reliable source of legitimate news from content sources they decide are trustworthy.
They're also investing $25 million in grants to news organizations that want to grow their video operations, part of a larger $300 million program sponsored by YouTube's sister company (formerly its parent?), Google.
According to YouTube's executives, the goal is to identify authoritative news sources, bring those videos to the top of users' feeds, and support quality journalism with tools and funding that will help news organizations more effectively reach their audiences. The challenge is deciding what constitutes authority when the public seems more divided than ever before on which news sources to trust—or whether to trust the traditional news industry at all.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 9, 2018
How they're doing it: Expect to see previews and links added to news and event videos. They're also paying some of the most popular YouTube creators and personalities to teach youth how to tell real news from fake.
In addition to linking to articles for breaking news in search results, it will also start adding text from third parties including Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica on subjects that have had widespread misinformation. Sample topics include the moon landing and the Oklahoma City bombing.
The efforts are part of the $300 million Google News Initiative that was announced in March, intended to help combat fake news on the company's platforms and give publishers more opportunities to make money. Monday's announcement explained what YouTube was doing with its $25 million portion of the budget.
With the funds, YouTube is specifically investing in three main areas. It's creating a working group with news organizations, including Vox Media, Brazil's Jovem Pan and India Today, and media experts to make product recommendations and improve news on YouTube. The company will provide funding in 20 global markets to help global outlets in building video capabilities. It is also expanding its global support for news organizations.
(Note: CNBC parent company NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media.)