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YouTube wants to help teenagers spot fake news and combat online abuse with Internet Citizens initiative

YouTube seeks to help teenagers spot fake news and combat online abuse with Internet Citizens initiative

YouTube is poised to lay on workshops aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds to help them identify fake news.

The move is part of the brand's wider Internet Citizens initiative, and will also look to raise awareness of issues like free speech, online abuse and comment moderation.

The classes will be hosted in cities across the UK as part of YouTube's Creators for Change programme, and will teach young people skills about participating in online discussion safely and responsibly.

Each session will be hosted by professional mentor Efe Ezekiel and Alain ‘Fushion’ Clapham - a self-professed 'creative mischief maker' and presenter. Nadir Nahdi, YouTube creator and founder of digital platform Beni, will also be on hand to speak to participants.

As part of the wider initiative a number of high-profile YouTubers are acting as ambassadors for "social change" in partnership with Google to promote what is being described as the "five fundamentals" of voice story, courage, community and action.

Naomi Gummer, head of public policy at YouTube UK, said: "The internet is what we want it to be. It can be an unpleasant place where people misunderstand and deliberately deceive each other.

"Or it can be this amazing place where we can share, collaborate, understand and help each other. We all have a part to play in making it that positive, healthy place. It sounds big, but actually it's easy and you know what to do. Stand up for what you want."

The announcement comes just over a month on from the fallout of YouTube's brand safety furore in which it was criticised for allowing content featuring hate speech – including videos from Neo-Nazi groups – to be monetised via advertising.

Google has now moved to tackle the issue, but it's three-prong approach to sorting the problem has come too late for brands like Marks & Spencer and the Guardian which froze their ad spend with the video giant after concerns were raised.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in social media marketing and wider industry news. Based in Glasgow, she has interviewed key figures from brands like Airbnb, Amnesty International, Facebook and Spotify. She has covered international events in Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as Advertising Week Europe.

All by Rebecca