YouTube's solution to scary conspiracy theories: Wikipedia

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 14, 2018

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said the platform will fight the spread of misinformation with information cues. "People can still watch the videos but then they actually have access to additional information, can click off and go and see that", she said. She didn't provide a specific timeline for when the new features would roll out.

Talking to WIRED, Wojcicki explained that YouTube will initially focus on conspiracy theories that have a lot of discussion surrounding them: chemtrails, moon landings, fluoride and similar.

The Google-owned video giant's role in promoting conspiracy theories has made headlines of late. YouTube eventually pulled the video for violating its policies.

The video-sharing platform has faced criticism from victims and survivors of mass shootings for not only failing to clamp down on disinformation, but profiting from it, since YouTube takes a cut of the revenue from advertising on all videos. YouTube's autoplay algorithms appear created to promote increasingly radical content, across politics and other subject areas, in an effort to keep users watching as long as possible, according to Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina.

YouTube described the links to Wikipedia as "information cues" created to help users make informed decisions on the validity of the videos.

YouTube calls these snippets "information cues", explaining that the text boxes will start showing up for viewers later on this month. A look at the service shows that some of these videos have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of views.

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