Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

YouTube is turning to Wikipedia to help it fight conspiracy theories

YouTube is turning to Wikipedia to help it fight conspiracy theories

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, has stated that the video platform will begin displaying text from Wikipedia articles and other websites alongside some videos in a couple of weeks to combat hoaxes and conspiracy theories on the service, as per a Reuters report.

Wojcicki, who spoke Tuesday evening at a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, showed examples of information cues for videos about the moon landing and chemtrails.

Videos about "widely accepted events" will include "information cues" - a text box that links to third-party sources including Wikipedia.

"When there are videos that are focused around something that's a conspiracy-and we're using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia-then we will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event", Wojcicki said, according to the Verge. After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, a video that theorized that one of the survivors was a crisis actor made it into YouTube's Trending section.

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Also, because Wikipedia pages are crowd-sourced, a page for a given event may not necessarily be accurate.

Wojcicki said that hatefulness is "more clear" than if something is true or false, and that YouTube doesn't want to be an arbiter of truth. "What I like about this unit is that it's actually pretty extensible", she said. Why should we decide what people think?

YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.'s Google, has faced months of scrutiny for inappropriate and misleading information on the site.

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