The Illuminati using celebs for their dirty work, Hitler escaping to an island, and moon landings which supposedly did not happen are just some of the extremely popular conspiracy theories on the popular video-sharing site YouTube.
As with any platform where users can freely create content, it is difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction, hence the recent debates about so-called fake news.
YouTube has recently been heavily criticized for allowing a conspiracy theory video about the Florida shootings to appear in the trending section of the site. Most of the conspiracy videos surrounding the most recent school shooting in the USA are rather easy to debunk, but most people feel that they are still disrespectful towards the victims and their families.
To combat the spread of conspiracy theories, YouTube is planning on utilising articles from Wikipedia.
The photo below shows the layout that is expected to roll out in the next couple of weeks. When a known conspiracy theory video starts playing, information about that conspiracy from the Wikipedia website will appear. By doing this, YouTube is hoping to assist their users to make informed decisions about the content they are watching.
Of course, this announcement comes with a number of questions and concerns from various sides. Wikipedia, just like YouTube, depends on users for their content, although Wikipedia has a much stricter approval and editing policy. Still, people fear that Wikipedia might not always be the most reliable source of fact.
There are also those who feel that YouTube is misusing this free community platform. Wikipedia has thousands of editors monitoring content every day, and some feel that instead of paying for a service like Wikipedia, YouTube is looking for a free ride.
YouTube is also implementing other methods to combat fake news and conspiracies, like de-monetising videos that don’t adhere to YouTube’s community standards and employing more people to review the content on its platform.
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