Here’s How YouTube Seeks to Fight Misinformation with Its Fact Check Panel

Here’s How YouTube Seeks to Fight Misinformation with Its Fact Check Panel

The COVID-19 outbreak has taken the entire globe by storm. It’s hard to imagine a situation where a single disease can push populations indoors and cause business revenues to hit all-time lows. As people feel completely cut off from the outside world, their only source of information is the internet, especially online platforms like social media. Amongst the many social networks, video-streaming platform YouTube seems to keep people updated with the latest tidings of everything that’s happening outside.

But here’s the catch: not everything that people see on the platform is true. There’s quite a lot of misinformation floating around that’s only adding to people’s anxiety and stress. From fake news to flawed updates, people find their knowledge of the pandemic is being distorted. This is the reason why Google has taken adequate measures to provide people the perspective that really matters. In the United States, where millions are being affected by the virus, Google has expanded YouTube’s fact check panel to combat distressing misinformation.

How does YouTube’s fact check panel work?

YouTube will only show up the fact check panel when viewers search for a topic for which they wish to check their facts. Whenever one opens the video streaming platform, they will find the fact check panel popping up at the top of the home screen, just a little above YouTube’s search results. When this happens, YouTube users will get the needful information they are looking for and also be able to winnow out fake and harmful video content from their search results.

YouTube’s fact check panel shows new content by emphasizing relevant articles from third-parties after doing a thorough fact check exercise. Through the panel, the video streaming platform seeks to help users make more informed decisions after crossing-checking claims that are made in the news. Here’s some information that the fact check panel offers:

  • Content that’s provided after conducting a proper fact check.
  • The entity who performed the fact checking exercise.
  • The date of publication of the content.
  • A hyperlink to the results of the fact check.
  • Whether or not the claim is true or false.

As seen so far, this new feature launched by YouTube for its US audience will tremendously affect the way videos are viewed on the platform during the present COVID-19 crisis. Most importantly, it’s posed to address the problem of misinformation plaguing the platform, especially in times of faster news cycle.

How does YouTube’s fact check panel show up on search results?

It’s important to note that for the fact check information panel to show up, there are several factors at play. Amongst all, the most important factor that YouTube will consider is the relevancy of the article after it’s fact-checked and the eligibility of the publisher of the content. Also, the search query of the user should be specific and to-the-point, instead of it being a generic one.

Take, for example, a user searches for “did a hurricane hit the coast of Florida?” This could show up an article that’s fact-checked and relevant to the query. But, on the flip side, if the user searches for a generic topic (like just “hurricane”), the platform’s fact check panel is less likely to show up.

The same goes for topics related to the current pandemic. If a user searches for just “coronavirus” or “COVID-19,” it’s likely that the panel will show up on search results. But if he or she searches for a specific term like “COVID-19 and ibuprofen,” they are more likely to see the fact check panel.

As such, it’s true that this move by YouTube is a great effort to curb the spread of misinformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the video streaming platform to reckon less upon third-party content moderators because they are mostly working from home to prevent the spread of the disease. Also, the fact check panel will eventually show up in YouTube searches taking place in countries outside the US as per the roll-out plan that the platform is devising.