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YouTube Now Adding 'Fact Checks' to Any Video That Questions Global Warming

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After YouTube’s March announcement that it would place links to Wikipedia on videos that spur conspiracy theory to inform viewers, the video platform is now placing fact checks on any video that questions global warming.

BuzzFeed News confirmed that this was part of the company’s “ongoing effort to combat the rampant misinformation and conspirational fodder on its platform.”

Now, a little blurb from Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica appears under videos that call climate change into question, ensuring that the public knows, “Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.”

The Wikipedia entry says, “Global warming, also referred to as climate change, is the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects. Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.”

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“I’d guess that it will have some influence, at least on those people who don’t know much about the subject,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, told BuzzFeed News. “Might be confusing to some people, but that’s probably better than just accepting the denier video at face value.”

Although the full list of topics that YouTube will be targeting has not been disclosed, on July 11, Wikipedia listed seven topics the company was working with YouTube to clarify. The topics are as follows: global warming, Dulce Base, Lilla Saltsjöbadsavtalet, 1980 Camarate air crash, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Kecksburg UFO incident and the MMR vaccine.

When YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced in March what the company is calling “information cues,” she said that the company wants to make sure they are “delivering the right information.”

The new Wikipedia blurb policy went into effect in July, but users were not notified that they had uploaded an affected video.

Do you think this 'fact checking' is a way to silence certain points of view?

“It was a surprise when we saw it show up on videos that are not conspiracy videos, but climate science videos,” Joe Hanson, who produces climate change video series such as “Hot Mess,” told BuzzFeed News.

This change has been met with a series of responses, especially after YouTube banned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

“They could have chosen wording that’s stronger and gets more to what the real terms of debate are between the extremely well-supported consensus scientific video versus the much, much smaller proportion of skeptics,” Professor Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter told BuzzFeed News.

Climate scientist Michael Mann said that the new blurb is like the warning label on cigarettes. “Warning — this video may or may not be promoting actual facts about climate change.”

“But the real issue here, of course, is that like Big Tech’s near-blanket banning of Alex Jones, it’s the thin end of the wedge,” James Delingpole argued on Breitbart.

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“We know that, given half the chance, Big Tech would like to go much, much further in its censorship of viewpoints which run counter to the prevailing Silicon Valley ‘progressive’ narrative.”

YouTube is using an algorithm to decide which videos get the Wikipedia message, and the changes are being rolled out slowly over the next few months.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Birthplace
Tucson, Arizona
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated with Honors
Education
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Location
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith




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