YouTube will link to Wikipedia to battle conspiracy videos

Wojcicki spoke at SXSW.                  Noam Galai Getty

Videos propagating conspiracy theories about events, like the moon landing, will now be accompanied by text from Wikipedia providing facts that counter the theory, Susan Wojcicki, chief executive officer of YouTube, said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the SXSW conference, Wojcicki said while YouTube is not a news organisation, they still want to deliver the right information.

YouTube is set to start presenting Wikipedia information alongside certain videos in an attempt to combat conspiracy theories and other potentially false news, Reuters reported Tuesday.

"When there are videos that are focused around something that's a conspiracy, we will show as a companion unit next to the video information from Wikipedia", said Wojcicki.

YouTube has faced scrutiny for a litany of negative events in recent months, from the Logan Paul controversy to the more recent proliferation of conspiracy videos around the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. During the SXSW interview, Wojcicki acknowledged the challenge of policing the world's largest internet-video service, and said YouTube would need to continue to employ human moderators to screen content in addition to automated processes.

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Last autumn, the YouTube channel of the Quds News Network was suspended for allegedly violating "community guidelines" over a video showing Hamas' Qassam Brigades fighters during the 2014 Gaza war.

YouTube's parent company, Google, has for months been hard pressed to do something about the purported problem of fake news on its platforms.

Earlier this year, Wojcicki pledged that YouTube would be hiring 10,000 new employees to help address content that was in violation of its content policies. Adding a few lines of context may make YouTube feel good about offering a "solution" to its misinformation problem, but it won't necessarily do anything to inform people who are watching conspiracy videos, or to change their minds.

What goes unmentioned here, possibly out of politeness, is that this means Wikipedia will be bombarded by conspiracy theorists, sticking the site's massive volunteer editing force with the job of filtering out bad citations and outright graffiti.

Why Youtube bothers with conspiracy at all?

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