YouTube has announced its plans to combat false information spread through its service by linking to Wikipedia and other informational websites to discredit misleading videos.
In the past, the video-sharing website has faced criticism because of the amount of conspiracy theory videos that can be found in its platform. This is an easier move for YouTube rather than taking the videos down.
YouTube's chief executive officer Susan Wojcicki made the announcement of the new changes during an interview at SXSW on Tuesday, March 13. Wojcicki said that YouTube will be displaying links to fact-based content next to conspiracy theory videos. This new feature is called "information cues."
Information cues works by presenting links to credible sources next to the video. For example, if a user searches for a video about fake moon landing, YouTube will link to a page that shows that the information isn't true. She says this feature will only be available for conspiracy theories that have significant debate on YouTube.
Wojcicki says that YouTube will focus on the conspiracy theories that are receiving large amounts of active discussion on the platform.
This will be the first time that YouTube will be presenting outbound links on the website. It also presents a shift from changing its algorithm in order to make fact-based based videos rise to the top of the search results.
This change allows YouTube to go forward without having to censor the videos that are already present on the website. Instead, users will now have additional information presented to them so that they can make up their own minds about the videos.
Recent criticism of YouTube shows that the service is pushing conspiracy theory on its users. This stems from YouTube's algorithm for recommending videos to its users. If a user watches a Donald Trump video, for instance, YouTube will begin recommending videos such as white supremacist rants and Holocaust deniers.
Instead of recommending informational videos, YouTube only recommends videos to keep users watching. Just like its ordeal with Jake Paul, YouTube doesn't present a clear line for content creators. It has been letting creators upload videos even with outright lies and false information.
Lately, YouTube has been going after channels that have been spreading conspiracy theories. YouTube has been issuing strikes, partial bans, and temporary suspensions to these accounts. One of the biggest channels facing a ban is Info Wars, which is run by Alex Jones. It was given a strike after saying that one of the Parkland, Florida shooting victims was an actor.