YouTube to Tackle Misinformation with Crowdsourced Notes

YouTube is experimenting with a feature that allows viewers to add contextual “Notes” under videos, similar to what X does with its Community Notes. The Google-owned company says the intent is to provide clarity around things like “when a song is meant to be a parody,” when newly reviewed products are available for purchase, or “when older footage is mistakenly portrayed as a current event.” However, the timing preceding a pivotal U.S. presidential election and facing concerns about deepfakes and  misinformation is no doubt intentional. The pilot will initially be available on mobile in the United States.

TechCrunch writes that while misinformation challenges were “significant” during the 2020 election cycle, “misinformation during the 2024 election is poised to be even more of a problem thanks to the rise of generative AI,” adding that the new feature finds YouTube “likely looking to minimize the spread of misinformation on its platform.”

YouTube says this addition “builds on a number of products we’ve launched to display helpful context alongside videos, such as information panels, or our recent disclosure requirement when content is altered or synthetic.”

To start, a limited number of eligible contributors are being invited via email or Creator Studio notification to write notes as YouTube tests and improves the system before giving consideration to further expansion, the company notes, explaining that “eligibility criteria include having an active YouTube channel in good standing with Community Guidelines.”

In the pilot and test phase, YouTube will have third-party evaluators rate the notes for “helpfulness,” helping to train its algorithmic systems. “These third-party evaluators are the same people who provide feedback on YouTube’s search results and recommendations,” according to YouTube. “As the pilot moves forward, we’ll look to have contributors themselves rate notes as well.”

“If a note is considered helpful, you might see it pop up in a small box beneath a video,” reports The Verge, which provides an illustrative sample. U.S. YouTube users can expect to start seeing notes on videos “in the coming weeks and months.”

The feature is “similar to one that was rolled out initially under the Jack Dorsey era of Twitter and expanded globally after Elon Musk bought the company in 2022,” explains Engadget, adding that “YouTube apparently saw something worth copying in the crowd-sourced context.”

Tech Times says that Notes “won’t have the user’s channel name next to it and will stay anonymous,” while “videos featuring children will not utilize this feature” at all.

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