YouTube To Display Text From Websites Within Its Videos

The Google-owned video streaming platform announced a new feature to be added to conspiracy videos. The move is to inform the viewer and deter the spread of misinformation.

n this Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, file photo, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks during the introduction of YouTube TV at YouTube Space LA in Los Angeles.
Reed Saxon / AP Images

The Google-owned video streaming platform announced a new feature to be added to conspiracy videos. The move is to inform the viewer and deter the spread of misinformation.

The video-streaming service will roll out changes within certain clips. YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, announced on Tuesday at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference that the company will start adding links from Wikipedia to conspiracy videos to better inform viewers.

The conference was held in Austin, Texas. The decision comes after YouTube was identified in the distribution of conspiracy theories during the Florida school shooting. In addition, this initiative is aimed at combating conspiracy theories on the platform along with hoaxes.

According to Reuters, Wojcicki explained during the conference that this new feature to be embedded in videos will be called “information cues.”

“YouTube intends to present an alternative viewpoint to videos questioning science or describing conspiracies about events such as the U.S. moon landing. She said information cues would first roll out to topics for which there are a significant number of YouTube videos.”

The decision to make this enhancement comes at a time when media advocacy groups and lawmakers request for the social network to deter the spread of false news and hoaxes. It is true the video-sharing platform gets more traction for music and gaming videos. However, it is paramount for them to address the spread of conspiracy around news-breaking events.

This move was done because of the misinformation in news events. As reported by The Verge, YouTube was found to be hosting extremist content. Furthermore, conspiracy theories floated around the idea that specific students who witnessed the shootings were accused of being crisis actors. In other words, by embedding this feature in videos it may help educate and inform the viewer rather than pushing them to an extreme.

The decision to include Wikipedia is an odd choice. For the most part, college students are prohibited from citing it and the academic community deems it unreliable. But the above report confirms Wikipedia can still give a more neutral, and empirical approach to understanding the nature of conspiracies.

A CNBC analysis clarifies that it is important to remember social media networks are not media organizations. They host content of all sorts, but their roles and responsibilities are vastly different than news outlets.

“YouTube, like other tech giants Facebook and Twitter, has long made the distinction that it is not a media organization, and thus bears less responsibility for the content on its platform.”