In its efforts to combat misinformation and provide accurate info, YouTube says a new COVID-19 news shelf is headed to the platform.
YouTube COVID-19 news shelf to combat misinformation
The news shelf will consist of coronavirus videos from authoritative sources. These authoritative sources already upload their content to YouTube, so this won't be too difficult an endeavor for YouTube.
YouTube determines which videos are authoritative and which are not by way of its algorithm. The algorithm ranks videos according to geographic location, newness or oldness, video content, and so on.
YouTube is taking this route because of the impact of its platform. Billions of people worldwide rely on YouTube and trust the content of its videos. In many cases, video content is inaccurate, misleading, and downright false.
When viewers access this content instead of accurate information, they will believe it to be true and act accordingly.
With the influence YouTube has with world viewers, the platform is aware of its responsibility to lead people to accurate news and information. Great power brings great responsibility. Viewers may find themselves with the coronavirus infection and need to know what to do and where to go to find help.
YouTube's agenda to combat misinformation
With the coronavirus war raging on, citizens worldwide are pulling their resources together in the fight against the deadliest disease of this generation. YouTube is on a quest to fight the falsehood surrounding the disease. It is not alone, however.
Social media rival Facebook is doing the same. The Zuckerberg-led company is in some hot water this week after marking coronavirus articles as spam and removing them — even though they came from credible news outlets. Facebook is also contributing free ad space to the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat misinformation about coronavirus.
Automation could bring some headaches
YouTube finds itself in a risky position. It is sending employees home and allowing video reviews, once a mix of man and machine, to turn fully automated.
YouTube relies on an algorithm to rank, select, and evaluate content. And yet, the platform has already told video creators this week to expect more video flagging and removal than before.
The new COVID-19 news shelf will come to countries such as Brazil, Germany, Japan, Italy, France, India, and the US initially. It will expand to other countries thereafter.
YouTube employees are heading home for social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing involves self-quarantine. President Donald Trump is encouraging Americans to stay home, practice good hygiene and wash hands, and work remotely as much as possible.