India is the first country where YouTube is trying to fact check videos

YouTube's new fact checking feature rolls out in India firstMax Pixel

  • YouTube has a new ‘Hoax Alert’ feature that informs users of misinformation when they search for sensitive topics on the video streaming site.
  • Most recently, India-Pakistan tensions have led to fake videos being uploaded under categories like the ‘CCTV footage of the Pulwama terror attack’.
  • The feature will also roll out in other countries soon, but YouTube has not specified the timeline.
The recent conflict between India and Pakistan had led to a flood of misinformation on social platforms — and YouTube is working on a fix. India, home to 41.2 million active monthly users, is the first country to test the new fact checking feature.

Called the ‘Hoax Alert’, the feature shows information panels above search results when people look for topics that are “prone to misinformation” according to the YouTube spokesperson.

Just to be clear, the fact checking feature doesn’t flag individual videos — so, videos that contain misinformation will still be present in the search results.

But, the information panel serves as disclaimer warning around sensitive topics according to the company.

India-Pakistan misinformation

In an example to show how misinformation is spreading on the platform, a spokesperson from YouTube cited what happens when you search for ‘CCTV footage of the Pulwama terror attack’.

YouTube's new fact checking feature, 'Hoax Alert', flags misinformation on the video-streaming platformYouTube

The search results include a bomb explosion in Syria that is trying to assert itself as an attack on the Indian paramilitary forces.

And, this isn’t the first time that YouTube has problems with the spread of misinformation in India. Last year, when a famous bollywood celebrity passed away, fake news monopolised YouTube’s ‘Trending’ section. So much so that the company eventually had to bring is manual oversight to fix the problem.

Since the problem of misinformation is bigger in India that in the US, the video streaming platform is bringing in around half a dozen fact-checking services to help out with the effort.

In the US, YouTube as only managed to link Wikipedia excerpts to conspiracy theory videos so far — in an attempt to ensure that viewers are better informed.

Other countries around the world will eventually get the feature as well, but YouTube hasn’t rolled out a precise timeline for when that will happen yet. Even in India, it’s only active for a select few users until it has worked out the kinks for a complete launch.

See also:
YouTube says it's purged over 400 channels and millions of videos in response to rising concerns about child exploitation

YouTube will combat fake news and conspiracy theories by highlighting reputable news sources when big news breaks

One viral thread shows how quickly YouTube's recommendations steer people to conspiracy theories and false information

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