Image credit: Ismail Elazizi

The battle against misinformation sees a new feature from YouTube that will help to clarify everything said within a video.

The internet has become a confusing place. Misinformation is rife and it is hard to know what content you can trust and what to believe. YouTube is one of the world’s biggest sources of information, their videos educating and informing billions. A new feature hopes to empower the truth.

YouTube are testing a feature that allows people to add notes to provide context to videos. These notes can be added to videos and timestamped to give more information about what is being said or shown. This could be clarification of information that might be vague, or a correction of false information.

YouTube advertise their new product more as an information-bolstering feature, saying notes could be used to “clarify when a song is meant to be a parody, point when a new version of a product being reviewed is available, or let viewers know when older footage is mistakenly portrayed as a current event”. However, the feature’s use in the fight against misinformation is obvious.

Of course, ensuring the notes are correct or accurate is then another challenge in itself. YouTube will only allow a number of eligible users to contribute notes for the meantime. Other users will then be asked if they found a note “helpful”, “somewhat helpful”, or “unhelpful”. This rating system is hoped to provide balance to the quality of notes. Citations of sources will be highly valued.

YouTube say that they will use a “bridging-based algorithm” to publish notes based on their ratings. They explain: “If many people who have rated notes differently in the past now rate the same note as helpful, then our system is more likely to show that note under a video.”

The notes feature is on pilot and will be available at first on mobile in English, in the U.S.. A limited number of users will be invited to contribute notes via email or Creator Studio notification to begin with. Contributors will be selected based on a set of eligibility criteria, including having an active YouTube channel that aligns with Community Guidelines.

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