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YouTube turns to Wikipedia to battle hoaxes and conspiracy theories

Video platform will feature Wikipedia blurbs alongside videos

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

YouTube will begin displaying text from Wikipedia articles and other websites alongside some videos in a couple of weeks as the unit of Alphabet Inc's Google attempts to combat hoaxes and conspiracy theories on the service, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Susan Wojcicki, speaking on stage at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, displayed a mock-up of the new feature, which are called information cues.

YouTube intends to present an alternative viewpoint to videos questioning science or describing conspiracies about events such as the US moon landing. She said information cues would first roll out to topics for which there are a significant number of YouTube videos.

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"People can still watch the videos but then they actually have access to additional information, can click off and go and see that," Wojcicki said.

Lawmakers and media advocacy groups have called on YouTube to help stop the spread of hoaxes and false news stories. Last year, the company adjusted its algorithms to promote what it described as authoritative sources.

Though music and gaming videos are far more popular on YouTube, the company has made addressing the criticism around news and science videos a top priority this year.

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