With encouraging news about a COVID-19 vaccine pending, YouTube is seeking to crack down on the spread of misinformation with a slight tweak to its existing fact-checking panels.
The panels, CNET reports, which already provide information about the pandemic more generally, will now send users to authoritative resources with respect to vaccine progress. All of the facts in YouTube’s panels are derived from authoritative organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The addendum (pictured below) reads, ‘Learn about vaccine progress from the CDC,” and links here.
YouTube said that the addition is showing up in U.S. searches for terms like ‘coronavirus’ and ‘COVID’, and will roll out globally in coming days.
Since the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic, YouTube has been working overtime to crack down on misinformation, having removed thousands of misleading videos, while instituting the fact-checking panels in April — which appeared when users searched for conspiracies or debunked claims related to the virus. Such panels were initially launched in 2018 to combat other conspiracies — that the earth was flat, for instance — and have subsequently been harnessed around major elections.
YouTube has come under fire in the past for serving as a breeding grounds for anti-vaccination conspiracy theories — so it’s likely the platform is taking a proactive approach as eagerness (and misinformation) about the COVID vaccine is looming large.