YouTube Attacks Fake News With $25M Toward News Initiatives

Written by Ann Brown

Fake news begone!

As part of an effort to support journalism and stamp out fake news, YouTube has announced it would spend $25 million on news. This is all part of the Google News Initiative that pledged $300 million earlier this year to help the news industry. “The money is being used to hire more specialists to support publishers; help publishers build their own video operations; and create a working group with news organizations to come up with new video product features and improve news on YouTube,” Digiday reported.

“News is important, and we’re committed to working with you to help the industry,” said Neil Mohan, chief product officer at YouTube. “We must do a much better job of supporting quality journalism and the news industry as a whole.”

And it seems YouTube is serious about supporting news worldwide. “YouTube also expanded its Top News and Breaking News shelves in 17 countries—including the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, and Nigeria—with plans to double that total “in the coming months,” Ad Week reported.Mohan and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer at YouTube, announced that some of them include: “Establishing a working group with news organizations and experts globallyؙ—early members include Vox Media, Jovem Pan and India Today—to help develop new product features, improve the news experience on YouTube and deal with challenges that may emerge in the future,” Ad Week reported.

And here’s how it will work: Funding will be provided on “an application basis to news organizations of all types, enabling them to build key capabilities, train staff on best practices, improve their production facilities and develop formats that are optimized for online viewing.”
“After a breaking news event, it takes time to verify, produce and publish high-quality videos. Journalists often write articles first to break the news rather than produce videos. That’s why in the coming weeks in the U.S., we will start providing a short preview of news articles in search results on YouTube that link to the full article during the initial hours of a major news event, along with a reminder that breaking and developing news can rapidly change,” Mohan and Kyncl wrote in a YouTube blog.

YouTube is reaching out to various media and information outlets, including  Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica. “YouTube, the Google News Initiative and are also teaming up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, the Local Media Association and the National Association for Media Literacy Education on MediaWise, a U.S.-based initiative designed to equip 1 million teens with digital literacy skills. Six YouTube Creators—including John Green, Ingrid Nilsen and Mark Watson—will also work with MediaWise,” Ad Week reported.

fake news

Some media outlets are hopeful about the incentive.

“That’s always a big concern when you’re in a breaking-news situation, competing with conspiracy theories,” said Micah Gelman, director of video at The Washington Post. “So anything YouTube can do to highlight authoritative and trusted news is great.”

But others are skeptical because of the way the posts will be managed. “YouTube, like other platforms that use secret algorithms, still struggles to explain how it judges a publisher’s authoritativeness, given how polarized people are politically and that one person’s trustworthy news outlet is another person’s extremist propaganda vehicle. The platform seems to be trying to show it’s supporting quality news, but wants to do that by giving users context, which might make people see it as a publisher and not a tech company,” Digiday reported.

There are other moves YouTube is making. The tech giant will be expanding its Player for Publishers. This is a video player, which is already being used in Europe, that publishers can embed on their own sites and lets them keep all the associated ad revenue. “The expansion of the Player for Publishers is a real potential benefit because it lets publishers keep all the revenue and can drive views for publishers by using YouTube’s algorithm to make video recommendations. But the player depends on Google to backfill with video ads when the publisher can’t sell enough on its own, and the rates might be less than what the publisher can get using another player, said one publisher, speaking anonymously,” Digiday reported.

All in all, these new developments will surely change news coverage.
Mohan and Kyncl wrote, “We remain committed to working with the journalism community to build a more sustainable video ecosystem for news organizations. We know there is a lot of work to do, but we’re eager to provide a better experience to users who come to YouTube every day to learn more about what is happening in the world from a diversity of sources.”