YouTube turns to Wikipedia to help it fight conspiracy theory videos


The latest move by Google in this area will see information from Wikipedia and other websites displayed alongside such videos in the interests of balance.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that these text boxes, which the company is calling "information cues", would begin appearing on conspiracy-related videos within the next couple of weeks.

"We're always exploring new ways to battle misinformation on YouTube", she said.

Conspiracy theory videos on YouTube will feature links to Wikipedia and other articles in an attempt to stop the spread of disinformation.

However, simply placing links to verified information alongside conspiracy clips doesn't mean that users will actually click on them.

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"Our goal is to start with a list of conspiracies listed on the internet where there is a lot of active discussion on YouTube", Wojcicki said, adding that the site did not want to censor videos, or prevent people from watching them.

Wojcicki, who spoke Tuesday evening at a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, showed examples of information cues for videos about the moon landing and chemtrails. YouTube's recommendation algorithm itself, additionally, has been shown to push viewers down rabbit holes of the most vile, radical content regardless of political affiliation.

Though music and gaming videos are far more popular on YouTube, the company has made addressing the criticism around news and science videos a top priority this year.

YouTube was slammed after its algorithm promoted conspiracy theories in the wake of shootings in Las Vegas and Florida.