YouTube is widening the audience for its fact check panels, and not a moment too soon. The video service now displays (via TechCrunch) independent fact checks for searches of known false claims. Look for claims behind COVID-19 conspiracy theories, for instance, and a panel will link you to an article debunking those myths. As before, YouTube is limiting these cards to relatively narrow searches — you shouldn’t get them while you’re simply looking for the latest news.
The panels bring up info from third-party publishers who honor the International Fact-Checking Network’s ethics code and meet the standards for ClaimReview’s tagging system. This includes partners like FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and The Washington Post Fact Checker.
The rollout comes roughly a year after YouTube’s panels first appeared in Brazil and India, and soon after Google poured $6.5 million into fighting COVID-19 misinformation. This kind of initiative isn’t strictly new, then. However, it’s taking on an added level of urgency. When junk science and other false claims are leading to violence and other potentially dangerous behavior during the pandemic, these panels could save lives — at least for those willing to pay attention to them.