YouTube will use Wikipedia to try and solve its conspiracy theory problem


In a statement Wednesday, YouTube said the links will include other "third-party sources" besides Wikipedia, though YouTube isn't identifying any. The video accused David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting who has since spoken out for gun control, of being a "crisis actor".

How well YouTube's "information cues" work in practice remains to be seen.

YouTube said these features will roll out in the coming months, but she can not share further information about its plans at this stage.

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Google-owned video platform YouTube is trying to combat the amount of misinformation sown by the site by linking to Wikipedia pages and other "fact-based" websites on videos that promote conspiracy theories. While on stage, she showed an example featuring a video about the moon landing, which some conspiracy theorists believe didn't really happen.

While social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for allowing fake news to run rampant, more recently it has been discovered that YouTube is also home to fake news and false information, where clear and obvious hoaxes have made it into YouTube's trending video section, which in turn encourages more viewing. Though its information is typically reliable, the donation-funded, volunteer-edited site is also vulnerable to hoaxes, making it, in the jargon of high-school history teachers, a "trust, but verify" source. This week, as reported by Buzzfeed, a search for "Austin explosions" while in incognito mode brought up a video claiming "Antifa" was responsible.

However, Wikipedia was not consulted on this feature and strongly advises against its roll out.

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"Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a newspaper", it clearly states online. Regarding misinformation on the platform, she talked about how the company changed the homepage in early 2017 to add breaking news in an effort to give viewers more accurate and authoritative content, as well as adding the Top News shelf.

Politifact issued a one-year update on the initiative, noting it debunked about five articles a day, but added that this is a Sisyphean task: "The reality is, there is too much content for us to check, and we imagine there is plenty more material in need of fact-checking that we aren't seeing".

The latest move comes amid ongoing criticism that YouTube has been hosting extremist content and driving more attention to it through algorithmic recommendations.

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"The mass shootings in particular are especially troubling".