YouTube Will Link To Wikipedia Below Conspiracy Theory Videos

YouTube will accompany conspiracy theory videos with links to Wikipedia to better inform viewers, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced at the South by Southwest conference Tuesday.

“whether there is an distinguished news event, we want to be delivering the right information,” Wojcicki said on stage. She qualified that by saying, “we are not a news organization.”

The feature will roll out in the coming months. The Wikipedia links will not appear solely on conspiracy-related videos, but will instead elaborate up on topics and events that hold inspired meaningful debate. A YouTube spokesperson used videos approximately the moon landing (a historical topic with many conspiracy theories surrounding it) as an example and famous that moon landing videos would appear with Wikipedia links below to supply additional information, regardless of whether the video was a documentary or a video alleging the landing was staged.

The spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the recent information from Wikipedia, which the company has dubbed “information cues,” is not meant to be seen as a full-scale solution to a complex problem. Instead, the company suggested that this is just a first small step in a series of announcements to reach over the next year approximately the company’s efforts to supply more information approximately videos on its platform.

Wikipedia is a crowdsourced digital encyclopedia — anyone can edit it — and editors sometimes engage in fierce partisan battles over divisive topics. It remains unclear how YouTube will ensure factual accuracy of suggested pages. The reliability of Wikipedia’s information has been disputed over the years, as detailed on the encyclopedia’s page approximately its own reliability and its catalogue of hoaxes that hold appeared there.

Similarly unclear is how “informational cues” might work for breaking news events, where subjects involved may not hold a total or even partial Wikipedia presence.

YouTube has struggled with how to handle conspiracy videos on its platform. Just yesterday, YouTube surfaced conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ video on a search for “Austin explosions” in relation to the exploding packages that killed two people in Austin, Texas.

And in February, a video claiming that a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting was a “crisis actor” topped YouTube’s Trending chart. The video received 200,000 views and spawned copies before YouTube removed it. A researcher found a network of thousands of conspiracy theory videos on the platform in the same month.

“It’s already tipped in favor of the conspiracists, I consider,” the researcher, Jonathan Albright, told BuzzFeed News in February.

When asked at SXSW approximately why YouTube can’t settle what is right or wrong but can settle what is hateful, Wojcicki said, “Hatefulness is more clear than whether something is right or whether something is wrong.”

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ryan Mac is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on the intersection of money, technology and power.

Contact Ryan Mac at

Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in recent York. Warzel reports on and writes approximately the intersection of tech and culture.

Contact Charlie Warzel at

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