Information Cues: New YouTube Feature Adds Wikipedia Links To Conspiracy Videos


The Google-owned video platform, which has been under fire to clamp down on the burgeoning growth of conspiracy-focused videos that flourish after major news events, announced new "information cues" at South by Southwest (SXSW) on Tuesday.

"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 said YouTube would display "information clues" from independent sources, including Wikipedia, to provide facts around widely accepted events, like the moon landing, and debunk conspiracy theories. These features will be rolling out in the coming months, but beyond that we don't have any additional information to share at this time.

While YouTube turned to Wikipedia for answers, the website itself has noted that it is not always the most reliable source, especially when dealing with breaking news. The links will appear in every video having the moon landing topic, be it a documentary or a conspiracy theory.

Still, nothing in YouTube's community guidelines specifically prohibits the uploading of conspiracy videos. But perhaps even more similarly, Facebook then said it would provide further context by offering what it sees as a variety of viewpoints on a subject or news story.

Do note, YouTube is the second largest search engine (next to Google) which people use to find relevant information. She explains that Wikipedia is a volunteer-edited resource, which means anyone could change Wikipedia information to align with the views of a conspiracy theory video.

YouTube is targeting news and science videos a top priority this year. In theory, YouTube viewers already have access to all the information they need to inform themselves; YouTube allows them to avoid doing so because its algorithm pushes them toward extremist ideologies in a bid to keep them engaged and generate ad revenue. One problem: Nobody at YouTube bothered to tell the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, and it's beginning to look like YouTube isn't trying to fix its problems, just pass the buck. It is not the Wikipedia is bad.