Today in Austin, Texas at the annual South by Southwest festival, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that Google is planning several moves over the next year to tackle misinformation on the platform. The first of this round of initiatives is called “information cues,” and basically adds links to Wikipedia articles below videos about topics that often the center of debate…
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While this may not be targeting “fake news” directly, these new information cues seem to hope to provide some kind of stable information ground for viewers to have quick access to when watching videos about a variety controversial topics. Wojcicki says that, in the case of the moon landing, for example, both conspiracy videos and documentaries would have the link.
Essentially, these “information cues” will be small cards that appear directl below videos in the YouTube app. While you might expect it to look something like a link in the description, what YouTube is doing here seems more significant. This feature will seemingly be just as prominent as the description, share buttons, and thumbs up section that’s right below that.
Check out Wojcicki’s slide from the talk to see for yourself:
“If there is an important news event, we want to be delivering the right information,” Wojcicki said on stage. She did make clear that “we are not a news organization,” however.
While YouTube isn’t a “news organization,” it definitely delivers a lot of news. Today’s announcement is just one piece of the larger ongoing discussion happening at several of of the web’s largest information guardians. YouTube in particular has faced controversy as of late with its handling of the controversial videos of one Jake Paul, and Facebook has faced backlash over “fake news” on its platform and Russian interference in the 2016 election.