YouTube to Feature FactCheck.org Articles in Effort to Combat Misinformation

YouTube has begun featuring fact-checks from FactCheck.org and other authoritative third-party sources when users search for information, in an expanded effort in the United States to correct misinformation, especially on fast-moving news topics like the coronavirus pandemic.

YouTube said it was trying to raise up authoritative sources of information across the site by expanding the use to the United States of “fact check information panels,” which were previously launched in Brazil and India.

A sample YouTube mobile search featuring a fact-check from FactCheck.org.
A sample YouTube mobile search featuring FactCheck.org information.

The information panels highlight “relevant, third-party fact-checked articles above search results for relevant queries, so that our viewers can make their own informed decision about claims made in the news,” according to a blog post from YouTube published on April 28, 2020.

YouTube said more than a dozen publishers are taking part in the effort thus far, including FactCheck.org, The Dispatch, PolitiFact and the Washington Post Fact Checker. These organizations are part of an open network of third-party publishers that either are a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s (IFCN) Code of Principles or are an authoritative publisher, according to YouTube. The organizations also must follow the publicly available standards of the ClaimReview tagging system.

“We’re happy to be part of YouTube’s efforts to give its users quick access to credible information from authoritative fact-checking sources,” said Eugene Kiely, director of FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

YouTube’s chief product officer, Neal Mohan, explained the initiative to Casey Newton of The Verge, this way: “When users are searching on YouTube around a specific claim, we want to give an opportunity for those fact checks to show up right then and there, when our users are looking for information — especially around fast-moving, quickly changing topics like COVID-19.” But he added that the fact checks also will “apply more broadly now.”

FactCheck.org is one of the independent, third-party fact-checkers working with Facebook to review and debunk viral claims on the social media network. Through that program and FactCheck.org’s own SciCheck initiative, which checks on the use of science in policy-making, FactCheck.org has published dozens of articles about misinformation on COVID-19.