Coronavirus misinformation prompts YouTube to add fact checks to search results

Users will see links to fact check articles when they search certain queries

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YouTube is adding fact checks to search results on the platform to highlight coronavirus misinformation, the Google-owned video website said Tuesday.

YouTube has had policies in place since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak to monitor and remove videos that violate its policies, including videos that spread harmful information, using a combination of its "automated systems" and content moderator employees that users can dispute if they feel YouTube has been unfair.

Now, YouTube is expanding its fact-check information panels and highlighting "authoritative sources of information" to ensure people have easy access to accurate information, the company said in a blog post.

"This follows Google’s efforts to support the ecosystem in the midst of the challenging COVID-19 environment, and we'll be looking for more ways to support the fact check ecosystem in the future," YouTube said.

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The video platform gave an example of a fact-check article titled, "No Evidence to Back COVID-19 Ibuprofen Concerns," which appears when people search for videos related to COVID-19 and ibuprofen. The fact check disputes the claim that "the majority" of COVID-19 patients who took ibuprofen died as a result of taking the drug while battling the illness.

Fact check on Covid-19 + ibuprofen / YouTube blog

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YouTube launched its similar fact-check information panels, which are fact bubbles that publishers add to videos they determine to have inaccurate information, in Brazil and India in 2019. The information panels often include "different types of contextual info from third-party sources, like links to fact check results in Search," which allow users to make their own decisions about videos they watch on the platform.

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Fact-check publishers that currently work with YouTube include The Dispatch, FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and The Washington Post Fact Checker.

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More recently, those information panels link to the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities to "help address an additional challenge: misinformation that comes up quickly as part of a fast-moving news cycle, where unfounded claims and uncertainty about facts are common. (For example, a false report that COVID-19 is a bio-weapon)," the blog post reads.

For a fact check to appear with a specific search, "there must be a relevant fact check article available from an eligible publisher," YouTube said in the post.

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