YouTube will be currently Fact-Checking Videos About Climate Change

The company will be currently trying to combat scientific misinformation on its platform. Wikipedia has been helping the item describe topics including global warming, the MMR vaccine, in addition to UFOs.

Posted on August 7, 2018, at 9:36 p.m. ET



YouTube will be currently adding fact checks to videos of which question climate change, BuzzFeed News has confirmed, as a part of its ongoing effort to combat the rampant misinformation in addition to conspiratorial fodder on its platform.

Starting July 9, the company added a blurb of text underneath some videos about climate change, including scientifically accurate explainers as well as those questioning the scientific consensus. The text comes through the Wikipedia entry for “global warming” in addition to states of which “multiple lines of scientific evidence show of which the climate system will be warming.”

This particular brand-new feature follow’s YouTube’s announcement in March of which the item would likely place descriptions through Wikipedia in addition to Encyclopædia Britannica next to videos on topics of which spur conspiracy theories, such as the moon landing in addition to the Oklahoma City bombing. In doing the same for climate videos, the company seems to be wading into more fraught in addition to complex intellectual territory.

“I’d guess of which the item will have some influence, at least on those people who don’t know much about the subject,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, told BuzzFeed News by email. “Might be confusing to some people, although of which’s probably better than just accepting the denier video at face value.”

YouTube would likely not disclose the full list of topics will be the item targeting. although a Wikipedia post to its administrators in mid-July offers some clues, listing seven topics the item was helping on: global warming, Dulce Base, Lilla Saltsjöbadsavtalet, the 1980 Camarate air crash, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Kecksburg UFO incident, in addition to the MMR vaccine. The two organizations appear to be working more closely since the launch of YouTube’s policy, which Wikipedia did not know about in advance.

Google, which owns YouTube, has struggled to excise misinformation through its platforms. In November 2017, the item tried a feature of which fact-checked descriptions of newspapers in addition to various other items of which appear in search results, although suspended the item in January after some mistakes triggered complaints.

When the brand-new Wikipedia-blurb policy took effect in July, YouTube did not publicly say of which climate change was an impacted topic, in addition to the item did not notify users who had uploaded the affected videos.

The Heartland Institute, for example, a conservative think tank of which posts videos of its staff in addition to others questioning climate change, told BuzzFeed News of which the item noticed the change a few weeks ago, in addition to had not been notified by YouTube. Spokesperson Jim Lakely declined to comment on the policy or its impact. PragerU, a nonprofit online “university” of which made some of the various other affected videos, says YouTube’s policy shows its political bias.

“Despite claiming to be a public forum in addition to a platform open to all, YouTube will be clearly a left-wing organization,” Craig Strazzeri, PragerU’s chief marketing officer, said by email. “This particular will be just another mistake in a long line of giant missteps of which erodes America’s trust in Big Tech, much like what has already happened with the mainstream news media.”

YouTuber “Tony Heller,” who also makes climate denial videos, described the policy on Twitter as YouTube “putting propaganda at the bottom of all climate videos.” (He did not respond to a request for comment.)

the item’s not just misleading climate videos either. The same climate blurb was appended to dozens of videos explaining the evidence in addition to impacts of climate change.

“the item was a surprise when we saw the item show up on videos of which are not conspiracy videos, although climate science videos.”

“the item was a surprise when we saw the item show up on videos of which are not conspiracy videos, although climate science videos,” Joe Hanson, who produces multiple video series including Hot Mess in addition to the item’s Okay to Be Smart, told BuzzFeed News.

Hanson polled his audience about YouTube’s fact-checking, in addition to the result was largely positive. “the item will be a probably a Great thing,” especially for videos with misleading science, Hanson said.

“I welcome This particular change,” Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, told BuzzFeed News by email. Climate science will be not an opinion, because scientists agree the item’s happening based on documented facts, she said. “I appreciate of which YouTube will be taking their responsibility seriously to help people understand the difference.” Hayhoe had noticed the descriptions suddenly show up with her Global Weirding video series on YouTube.

Climate scientist Michael Mann likened YouTube’s brand-new messaging to the warning label on a pack of cigarettes: “Warning — This particular video may or may not be promoting actual facts about climate change.”

YouTube says the goal of its policy will be to give users easy access to more context in addition to information on topics prone to misinformation, such as climate change. in addition to inside the coming months, more in addition to more videos will be getting these labels.

The company will be using an algorithm, not people, to decide which videos get the blurbs in addition to which do not, a spokesperson said. The labels are for currently only visible to people inside the US in addition to are being rolled out gradually. So two people can look at the same video in addition to only one may see the description.

YouTube plans to measure the effectiveness of these panels by tracking how often users click on the climate description provided, which links back to the original Wikipedia page. If the page gets updated, so will the text under the videos.

in addition to what if the Wikipedia page will be edited to include misinformation? The YouTube spokesperson noted the text under the videos does not refresh immediately, leaving a time lag between when a Wikipedia page will be edited in addition to when the change shows up on YouTube. This particular could allow Wikipedia editors to catch inaccuracies before they appear on YouTube — or lead to angry YouTubers giving Wikipedia added headaches. (Wikipedia deferred questions on This particular topic to YouTube.)

According to a BuzzFeed News review of dozens of videos, the label shows up more consistently on videos with “global warming” in addition to “climate change” inside the title than ones without.

On a series of misleading climate videos posted by the news site RT, there will be no note about climate change, although there will be a Wikipedia description about the publisher, saying: “RT will be funded in whole or in part by the Russian government.”

Jason Reifler, a political science professor at the University of Exeter, praised YouTube for starting to tackle the challenge of misinformation, although said he’s skeptical of how effective the climate change description will be.

“They could have chosen wording of which’s stronger in addition to gets more to what the real terms of debate are between the extremely well-supported consensus scientific video versus the much, much smaller proportion of skeptics,” Reifler told BuzzFeed News.

“I’m doubtful This particular first step will be going to do much,” he added. “although I trust the item does!”

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