Have you ever visited YouTube for watching some breaking news videos expecting to get all the info in one go but did not get what you expected? Videos use luring thumbnails and clickbait titles to attract more views and traffic. Most breaking news videos that follow such patterns are either fake, have a high level of misinformation or don’t clarify what the news really is.
The news that continuously keeps popping up is most of the time, catchy. Google engineer, Guillaume Chaslot, who worked on the recommendation algorithm for YouTube, stated that this was purely designed to boost user engagement.
To tackle this fake thread going around the popular video-sharing website, YouTube has initiated a $25 million plan to counter fake news and misinformation.
In a Wired interview held in March, YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki announced new features which include updates to breaking news and conspiracy theories by adding information cues to every video.
Information cues are short blocks of text based on moon landing and chemtrails, for example. Susan further added, “When there are videos that are focused around something that’s a conspiracy — and we’re using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia — then we will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event.”
— Maureen Fitzgerald (@movandy) March 13, 2018
Now, YouTube also features ‘authoritative’ content in their breaking news shelf. This means, news in this ‘authoritative’ section comes only from authoritative sources such as Google News and other providers who have applied to be part of Google News program. YouTube then uses a different set of algorithms to determine who within that group is authoritative. Later, based on this YouTube uses those news providers in their breaking news shelf, and their home feed.
YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan said, “Rather than recommending a video first, the algorithm will point to a text-based story surfaced by Google News. Results will be accompanied by a label reminding users that the story is still developing, and the info is “subject to change.”
These updated features for anti-fake news plan are currently active in 17 countries, including the US and YouTube is planning to double the reach in coming months.