Youtube’s Fact Checking Feature to Combat Misinformation

The internet come with the opportunity to access the information you need easily. However, this is not without an adverse effect. Alongside the tons of useful information that exist, there is also a ton of false, wrong and misleading information. This stretches to online streaming platforms like Youtube.

Youtube boasts of millions of users and tons of videos are uploaded from varying channels daily. While some of these videos may be educational, the platform also has an unending misleading videos since there no stipulated process to filter them out. The danger of misinformation is what prompted the introduction of the fact checking feature. The feature was introduced in India and Brazil in 2019 before extending to the United States in January, 2020. The fact checking appear as a blue box labelled “Independent fact check” above the search results on Youtube whenever a user searches for any information. 

There is a method to how it works. That is, the fact checking box will not appear if you search for random keywords like “food”, “money”, or “beer”. According to Youtube, the fact checks will appear only when a user puts in a search for specific claims. The need for this fact check feature became more apparent after the outbreak of the ongoing global pandemic, COVID 19. At its onset, a lot of false and doctored information spread widely. Misinformation about the cause, symptoms, conspiracy theories and unending home remedies for the affected and unaffected.

In order to check this, Youtube with other publishers in the United States and varying fact checking bodies like Snopes and FactCheck.org have opted to be active participants in this program. This, alongside, Youtube’s information panel feature, (introduced in 2018) has been effective in weeding out misleading content. This information panel feature appears under videos with wrong information by displaying links that redirect users to the articles that contain the right information. So far, Youtube claims this has been the most successive and effective initiative so far. These fact checking organizations have also reported that they have being overwhelmed by the staggering amount of misleading information they’ve had to deal with in the past months, especially when it comes to COVID 19 related news.

While this may affect the views of videos posted, users are protected from harmful information. Once the blue box appears above a specific claim search result, it will label the claim as true of false. It also displays information about when the fact check was who, by whom and a direct link to the fact check articles.

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