'YouTube will invest $25 million in funding “quality journalism” on its platform. The initiative will aim to provide context and to promote ‘reputable’ sources; but there are doubts as to what, exactly, that might mean.
YouTube announced the initiative on Monday, and says it aims to make “it easier to find quality news” and improve “the news experience on YouTube.” The initiative forms part of a wider, $300 million Google program aimed at “helping journalism thrive in the digital age.”
In the coming weeks, videos posted about breaking news events will be accompanied with a link to carefully vetted news article about the events, as well as a reminder that breaking news can rapidly change. YouTube will also highlight breaking news videos from reputable news organizations on its homepage, and recommend that viewers watch similar videos following the ones they were watching.
With the left-right divide in America widening, the challenge for YouTube is deciding what sources count as reputable. Among those vetted by YouTube are CNN and Fox News. CNN has been slated and derided as ‘fake news’ by President Trump and others on the right, while CNN President Jeff Zucker called Fox a “propaganda machine” earlier this year.
When Facebook announced plans to rank news sources by “trustworthiness” and “dial up the intensity” of news suppression this May, it enlisted the help of a host of news organizations to define what “trustworthy” means. However, all but two of the over 20 organizations enlisted leaned to the political left.
The only US outlet mentioned in YouTube’s announcement is Vox Media, a left-wing “explainer” website. YouTube has also revealed that one of its “trusted flaggers” of objectionable content is the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that focuses solely on “right-wing extremism.” The SPLC has been forced to retract several articles over the past few months, and pay a $3.75 million compensation to a think-tank it mischaracterized as anti-Muslim.'
Read more: What is ‘reputable’ news? YouTube plans to decide for you
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