YouTube’s adding creators’ “personal stories” to health-related search results

By 09/29/2022
YouTube’s adding creators’ “personal stories” to health-related search results

YouTube‘s latest effort to promote accurate medical information instead of whatever the current conspiracy du jour is has led it to install a new content shelf in search results.

Called “Personal Stories,” the shelf serves up creator-uploaded videos that “primarily focus on a personal, authentic lived experience that is relevant to a specific physical or mental health condition,” YouTube said in a company blog post.

The shelf pops up when users search for “health topics and questions realted to certain conditions,” it added.

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Personal Stories are live now, but only being served to users in the U.S., and only on queries related to cancer and mental health topics like anxiety and depression, YouTube said. It plans to add more topics in the future, and expand the shelf to more geographical locations.

YouTube came up with this shelf after studying commonalities in health-related searches.

“Some of what we found isn’t surprising—people visit YouTube when they want to understand something complex in simple, visual terms. Human biology is complicated and video can make it easier,” it explained. “But we also saw another patter in the data. Many times, people aren’t coming to YouTube with a health question at all. Instead, they come with a human question: how do I live with this?”

Along with requiring videos to be about “personal, authentic lived experience,” YouTube is barring any videos that are “promotional in nature,” it said. And, of course, videos have to follow all the rest of its Community Guidelines to appear on the shelf, too.

Like we said earlier, this is another step in YouTube’s long battle against misinformation. But it’s also a way to bulk up YouTube search results and maybe offer something other platforms—like TikTok and Instagram, both of which have sapping search traffic from YouTube’s parent Google—can’t.

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