YouTube To Use Wikipedia For Added Context To Conspiracy Theory Videos

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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YouTube is set to start presenting Wikipedia information alongside certain videos in an attempt to combat conspiracy theories and other potentially false news, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Referring to them as information cues, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki displayed a prototype of the imminent new feature during an event at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas.

“People can still watch the videos but then they actually have access to additional information, can click off and go and see that,” Wojcicki said, according to Reuters. “Our goal is to start with a list of conspiracies around the internet where there’s a lot of active discussion,” she also said, according to Bloomberg.

YouTube’s parent company, Google, has for months been hard pressed to do something about the purported problem of fake news on its platforms. Portions of the public, and key public officials, have urged Google, as well as other tech companies, to do something to stop people from posting or spreading misinformation through their many services. Most suggestions, but not all, have been fairly ambiguous.

And not all initiatives in this respect have gone as planned for the tech giant, to say the least.

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Facebook also seems to be struggling to find an optimal way to appease people clamoring for it to purge, or at least less prominently feature, false and intentionally divisive information and content on its platform.

For instance, quite similarly to what Google is currently doing, Facebook attempted to add context to certain articles offered in its trending news sidebar or users’ tailored news feeds by appending “disputed flags” as a warning of potential fraudulence. It ended up ditching the program because it ultimately had the opposite effect of what it intended: people were inclined to believe the red-labeled information even more. But perhaps even more similarly, Facebook then said it would provide further context by offering what it sees as a variety of viewpoints on a subject or news story.

“We’re always exploring new ways to battle misinformation on YouTube,” a YouTube representative told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “At SXSW, we announced plans to show additional information cues, including a text box linking to third-party sources around widely accepted events, like the moon landing. These features will be rolling out in the coming months, but beyond that we don’t have any additional information to share at this time.”

This piece has been updated to include YouTube’s direct comments.

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