YouTube is adding so-called fact-check descriptions about climate change from Wikipedia to videos containing academics discussing aspects of global warming, BuzzFeed News reported Tuesday.
The company began adding small blurbs to “global warming” videos on July 9, according to the report. Text on the videos state: “multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.” YouTube claims the policy, which is not implemented outside the U.S., is designed to add context to content dealing with climate change.
YouTube is using an algorithm rather than people to decide which videos get the blurbs and which do not, a spokesperson for the company told BuzzFeed. The feature comes off the heels of the company’s announcement in March that it would fact check topics that regularly promote conspiracy theories suggesting the government faked the moon landing or was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Environmentalists are cheering the move, while climate skeptics are crying foul. “I’d guess that it will have some influence, at least on those people who don’t know much about the subject,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, told reporters. “Might be confusing to some people, but that’s probably better than just accepting the denier video at face value.”
One free market think tank that typically discusses climate change from a skeptical position noticed the changes early on. The Heartland Institute, a free market group based in Washington, D.C., told BuzzFeed that the labels began appearing on its videos about two weeks ago. Another conservative group claimed YouTube’s newfound practice demonstrates the company’s liberal bias.
“Despite claiming to be a public forum and a platform open to all, YouTube is clearly a left-wing organization,” Craig Strazzeri, a marketing analyst for conservative Internet outlet PragerU, told reporters. “This is just another mistake in a long line of giant missteps that erodes America’s trust in Big Tech, much like what has already happened with the mainstream news media.”
YouTube’s parent company, Google, began cracking down on purported fake news earlier this year — yet its attempts to police misinformation have not come without hiccups. (RELATED: Eighth Major Report Finds Water Contamination From Fracking ‘Has Not Been Observed’)
Google reportedly identified one of the ideologies of the California Republican Party as “Nazism” in May on its highly popular search platform. The piece of inaccurate information, which was hyperlinked to presumably take web browsers to more information about hateful ideas, was found in the “knowledge panel,” a sidebar widget that presents additional information.
YouTube has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment about whether the company is considering a similar policy regarding videos that contain misinformation regarding hydraulic fracturing. The Environmental Protection Agency, among other government agencies, have found no evidence to support activists claims that fracking poisons drinking water.
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