YouTube will reportedly begin flagging videos that are published by groups that receive government funding.
The Hill reports that video streaming platform YouTube plans to begin flagging videos that are published by government-funded groups in efforts to fight propaganda on the website. It’s expected that a small label will be attached to certain videos to let viewers know that the video was funded by a government organization. YouTube News Senior Product Manager Geoff Samek commented on the new update saying, “News is an important and growing vertical for us and we want to be sure to get it right, helping to grow news and support news publishers on YouTube in a responsible way.”
Samek continued, “This notice on publishers receiving public or government funding, though still in its early stages, not only carries forward our work in this area through 2017, but represents one of many more steps we will take throughout 2018 to improve how we deliver news content on YouTube.” It seems that YouTube is just one of the many tech companies being pressured to provide greater transparency in relation to who is funding content on their platform in the wake of the 2016 election.
Some are not so happy with YouTube’s latest move. A spokesperson for American broadcaster PBS said in a statement to the Washington Post, “Labeling PBS a ‘publicly funded broadcaster’ is both vague and misleading,” they continued, “PBS and its member stations receive a small percentage of funding from the federal government; the majority of funding comes from private donations. More importantly, PBS is an independent, private, not-for-profit corporation, not a state broadcaster. YouTube’s proposed labeling could wrongly imply that the government has influence over PBS content, which is prohibited by statute. If YouTube’s intent is to create clarity and better understanding, this is a step in the wrong direction.”