Following similar moves from Facebook, Apple and parent company Google, the initiative aims to add more weight to ‘authoritative’ news sources over unverified conspiracy-style material on the platform.
By prioritising verifiable content to users and making people work harder to find sensationalist material, YouTube hopes to separate the wheat from the chaff and bolster its own credibility in the process – although it stops short of removing ‘fake news’ content entirely.
Neal Mohan, chief product officer at YouTube, said: “By putting that front and centre, that’s one of the biggest things we can do to ensure users are getting access to high-quality information.
“News events are going to be questioned, rightly or wrongly, people will have a conspiratorial opinion. We want users to make decisions for themselves.”
Other policy shifts include a move to include text articles in people’s feeds during breaking news events until news organisations are able to compile accompanying video.
The platform will also introduce an ‘information panel’ which promotes verified content, including that from local sources, when people view videos.
A trickier proposition remains the definition of what constitutes an ‘authoritative’ source with YouTube asserting that it will employ a variety of metrics including web rankings and citations to populate a fluid list of providers.
Digital rivals such as Facebook have launched similar fact-checking programs to combat the rise of fake news.