YouTube is fighting misinformation with a new, dedicated coronavirus news section.
The new section will appear on the YouTube homepage on the web and in the app. It features COVID-19 coverage from trusted sources located around the world. Google provides no guidance on what it considers ‘trusted sources.’ Screenshots of the new feature include news articles from The Washington Post, CNN, and ABC News.
Google says YouTube’s coronavirus news coverage will be available in 16 countries.
The company has plans to roll out the feature to more countries in the future. Right now, we don’t know the full list of countries where it is available. But we can confirm it has appeared in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. It seems to be focused on English-speaking countries for now.
“Authoritativeness is essential to viewers, especially during fast-moving, breaking news events,” a blog post reads. “We’ve been investing in new product features to surface authoritative sources prominently.”
The change in the algorithm focuses on lifting ‘trusted sources’ over regular content creators. That means heading to YouTube and searching for coronavirus news is more likely to return actual news, rather than conspiracy theories.
Social media sites are also under pressure to limit the spread of misinformation on their platforms. Facebook received criticism after its auto-moderating algorithm blocked all mentions of coronavirus – even legitimate news. WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter are now all promoting information from trusted sources.
Fighting coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories is just one front-line battle. Promoting trusted news sources is one way to make sure information gets out.
But the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic has drawn criticism from many. Madonna joined Zac Brown in criticizing the government’s lack of leadership. The live music industry and tourism in the US are experiencing a record whip-lash as quarantine measures come into place.