YouTube starts labeling videos backed by governments

Videos from state-chartered news organizations like the BBC and AFP, and US-based public broadcasters may get flagged as well.

YouTube has started labeling news broadcasts that are funded by the government as it promised to be stricter about content at the online-video sharing platform. This feature, which is currently being rolled out in the US, shows notices below videos uploaded by news broadcasters that receive government or public money, explained Geoff Samek, YouTube News senior product manager, in a blog post.

YouTube starts labeling videos backed by governments

"Our goal is to equip users with additional information to help them better understand the sources of news content that they choose to watch on YouTube," Samek said "News is an important vertical for us and we want to be sure to get it right," he added. This move is expected to affect videos from services like Russia-backed RT, which is criticized to be a propaganda outlet for Moscow, among others.

A screenshot included in the blog post showed a disclaimer about the US government-funded Radio Free Asia. Videos from state-chartered news organizations like the BBC and AFP, and US-based public broadcasters may get flagged as well.

Notices displayed with state-sponsored news broadcasts will have links to Wikipedia online encyclopedia so viewers can find out more about the background of the agencies behind the reports, believes Samek. As of now, the feature is nascent and will be refined based on feedback from users.

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According to Samek, YouTube made a series of changes to its platform last year in an attempt to "better surface authoritative news."

This year, however, YouTube's priorities include tightening and better-enforcing rules at the service, said chief executive Susan Wojcicki.

"The same creativity and unpredictability that makes YouTube so rewarding can also lead to unfortunate events where we need to take a clear, informed, and principled stance," Wojcicki commented in an online post.

With inputs from Agence France-Presse

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