• YouTube expands fact checking panels in US to fight Covid-19 misinformation  
  • US authoritative news sources called to participate in initiative  
  • YouTube to provide $1 million to the Google News Initiative 


YouTube: Launches fact checking in the US after a number of Covid-19 hoaxes

Source: Nopparat Khokthong / Shutterstock

YouTube is launching fact checking panels in the US with the aim of raising authoritative sources of information across the site following similar successes in Brazil and India.

The initiative has been introduced as a new feature after a number of hoaxes related to Covid-19 circulated across the streaming platform. It comes as more people use the site seeking news and information on breaking stories or to learn something new.  

“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 event,” the Google-owned company said in a blog post.  

The fact check feature expands on other initiatives that look to raise and connect its audience with authoritative sources. Its Breaking News and Top News services aim to help viewers find information from authoritative sources both on their YouTube homepage and when searching for news topics.  

In 2018, it introduced information panels that help surface a wide array of contextual information to sources such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia for topics prone to longstanding misinformation, such as flat earth theories and, more recently, linking Covid-19 to 5G.  

“We’re now using these panels to help address an additional challenge: Misinformation that comes up quickly as part of a fast-moving news cycle, where unfounded claims and uncertainty about facts are common. For example, a false report that Covid-19 is a bio-weapon,” the company wrote. 

“Our fact check information panels provide fresh context in these situations by highlighting relevant, third-party fact-checked articles above search results for relevant queries, so that our viewers can make their own informed decision about claims made in the news.” 

However, the YouTube fact checking panels are not a comprehensive cure to stopping misinformation, because there has to be an associated article available from an eligible publisher on the given topic.  

YouTube said: “In order to match a viewer’s needs with the information we provide, fact checks will only show when people search for a specific claim.” 

For example, YouTube explained that if someone searches for “did a tornado hit Los Angeles” they might see a relevant fact check article, but if they search for a more general query like “tornado,” they may not.  

As well, all fact check articles must also comply with its Community Guidelines, with the opportunity for viewers to send feedback to the team. 

How it works 

YouTube’s fact check information panel relies on an open network of third-party publishers and leverages the ClaimReview tagging system.  

All US publishers are invited to participate as long as they follow the publicly-available ClaimReview standards and are either a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s (IFCN) Code of Principles or are an authoritative publisher.  

Over a dozen US publishers are participating today, including The Dispatch, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and The Washington Post Fact Checker, and we encourage more publishers and fact checkers to explore using ClaimReview. 

In addition to this roll out, YouTube will provide $1 million through the Google News Initiative to the IFCN to bolster fact-checking and verification efforts across the world.  

This follows Google’s efforts to support the ecosystem in the midst of the challenging Covid-19 environment, and we’ll be looking for more ways to support the fact check ecosystem in the future.