Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

YouTube to work with Wikipedia to curb conspiracy theories

YouTube to work with Wikipedia to curb conspiracy theories

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that these text boxes, which the company is calling "information cues", would begin appearing on conspiracy-related videos within the next couple of weeks.

YouTube is stepping up its effort to fight the spread of conspiracy theories on its platform, adding information from Wikipedia to run alongside conspiracy theory videos.

Wojcicki, showed examples of information cues for videos about the moon landing and chemtrails. In this case, neither Wikipedia nor the Wikimedia Foundation are part of a formal partnership with YouTube. Some news outlets characterized the announcement as a partnership of sorts - which was news to Wikipedia.

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YouTube has a notorious problem with conspiracy-theory videos, most recently evidenced by a video featuring InfoWars' Alex Jones suggesting that the Parkland, Florida, school shooting was a "deep state false flag operation" and that the surviving students who criticized the gun lobby were actors.

Like other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, YouTube is happy to make money from disinformation while half-heartedly condemning it. These types of conspiracies often emerge after mass shootings, alleging the tragedies are a hoax and victims are paid crisis actors.

YouTube says it merely plans to retrieve and display relevant Wikipedia information, just as parent Google does know when a user searches for a topic.

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Take a walk through the halls of YouTube and you'll find all manner of conspiracy theories.

Since anyone can edit Wikipedia, this could cause more damage than anything else.

At @Wikimedia, we support the @Wikipedia editing community.

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Mercer's Phillips also wondered whether those Wikipedia pages linked to YouTube would now be put through a more rigorous moderation process or if the company would deploy paid editors to look at those pages. She said early in the interview that she considers YouTube more of a library, something educational, which sounds nearly quaint-but it has surpassed that analogy. Tufekci said that as users click through video after video, excited by "uncovering more secrets and deeper truths", YouTube leads us down "a rabbit hole of extremism, while Google racks up the ad sales".

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