YouTube, the Google-owned video hosting giant, has introduced “fact check” labels next to videos as it ramps up censorship during the Chinese virus pandemic.
The fact checks consist of information panels that appear next to videos, containing information from third-party fact checkers. The panels were tested in Brazil and India in 2019, and are now being rolled out in the U.S.
In a blog post, YouTube used the pandemic to justify its ever-tightening control over the information shown to users on the platform.
More recently, the outbreak of COVID-19 and its spread around the world has reaffirmed how important it is for viewers to get accurate information during fast-moving events. That’s why we’re continuing to improve the news experience on YouTube, including raising up authoritative sources of information across the site.
The fact check feature expands upon the other ways we raise and connect people with authoritative sources. For example, our Breaking News and Top News shelves help our viewers find information from authoritative sources both on their YouTube homepage and when searching for news topics. In 2018, we introduced information panels that help surface a wide array of contextual information, from links to sources like Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia for topics prone to longstanding misinformation (e.g. “flat earth” theories), or more recently, linking to the WHO, CDC or local health authorities for videos and searches related to COVID-19.
YouTube has been stepping up its censorship amid the pandemic. It recently removed a video of two doctors from Bakersfield, California who recommended an early end to the nationwide shutdowns. Prior to that, it took down a video from a life sciences company about its research with Cedars-Sinai hospital on UV light treatment to fight the virus. YouTube’s CEO has also said that the platform will remove any information that goes against World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.