Following similar announcements by Facebook and Apple, YouTube has announced that it will directly fund a selection of handpicked “authoritative news sources”, which it will then artificially promote to its users.
YouTube announced the plan in a blog post earlier today. The company revealed that one of the news organizations they plan to collaborate with is Vox Media, owner of Vox, The Verge, Polygon, and other publications known for far-left bias.
Google, YouTube’s parent company, has already committed $300 million to fund “quality journalism,” without any transparency as to what the company considers “quality journalism,” who makes the decision, or how.
YouTube will commit $25 million to funding news. This will include a working group with news organizations and “experts” around the world to help the site develop new product features.
YouTube also promises to provide grants to news organizations, on an application basis, “across approximately 20 global markets to support news organizations in building sustainable video operations.” YouTube says the grants “will enable our partners to build key capabilities, train staff on video best practices, enhance production facilities and develop formats optimized for online video.”
Following other Silicon Valley companies that have decided their users are too stupid to choose news sources for themselves, YouTube also said it will “prominently surface authoritative sources” for users.
By directly funding news content which it will then deliberately privilege on its platform, YouTube, like other Silicon Valley companies, is moving away from its former status as a neutral platform. It now risks being categorized as a publisher, with its own editorial line and its own point of view on what constitutes “authoritative” and “quality” news. If YouTube is legally categorized as a publisher, it will be legally liable for all content hosted on the site — a potentially costly liability that neutral online platforms are not subject to.
On this, YouTube is following the lead of other Silicon Valley masters of the universe, including Apple and Facebook. The latter recently announced it will partner with 80 undisclosed publications to produce exclusive news content ahead of the midterm elections.
Caving in to pressure from corporate media, including Rupert Murdoch, Facebook said it would directly fund news programming, including shows from CNN’s Anderson Cooper and from far-left outlet Mic.com.