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  • Isabel Encinares

YouTube Has Introduced a New Label and Recommendation System to Combat Spread of False Health advice

The US Government has recently reprimanded Facebook for the perceived lack of effort in terms of combating medical misinformation. In connection to this, YouTube has decided to add new labels to authorized videos from trusted sources, and has also decided to prioritize these clips in different health related searches.

As can be seen in the example above, videos posted by trusted sources are tagged with an ‘accredited hospital’ notification, which provides users with assurance and endorses trusted content. Moreover, Whenever health related issues are searched on the platform, a new ‘health content shelf’, which links trusted content from recognized sources, is displayed at the very top.

According to YouTube:

"These context cues are aimed at helping people more easily navigate and evaluate credible health information. People will still be able to find relevant videos from a range of sources in their search results."

According to this, YouTube is not limiting searches to exclusively show authorized and trusted videos, but is instead prioritizing them in order to expose more people to recognized, endorse, and trusted health videos. Ideally, this would result in fewer people falling prey to conspiracy theories and false information that may damage the public or their own health.

The new system is being implemented in order to directly address the problem that the Biden Administration called out last week. According to US President Joe Biden, Facebook is ‘killing people’ by failing to monitor and address the distribution of anti-vax content on its different platforms. The president has stated that the company needs to improve their processes, as well as focus on addressing the different users who are known to share wrong information. It should also be noted that this statement was based off of a recent report, which found that 60% of false COVID information originates solely from a dozen social media accounts.

As all the accounts are known, Biden says that Facebook could and should be doing more to protect its users and the people of the world. In response to the president’s statements, Facebook has defended their actions and believes that they are doing well in contributing to the broadening vaccination push.

Facebook and YouTube have become some of the most important distributors of information all over the world, and are currently among the top news resources in America, and a number of other regions. It is due to this fact that the platforms are putting in a great effort to try and combat misinformation and highlight trusted sources. Without the various efforts, people would be unable to remain well-informed on the different risks and benefits of different health issues and movements.

According to reports, both YouTube and Facebook have been trying to combat anti-vax movements for years, but due to the sheer number of anti-vaxxers, this is a problem that won’t disappear, even with the ongoing pandemic.

YouTube has announced that they are working with a number of different health groups to establish a list of approved sources which will be tagged by the ‘accredited hospital’ tag, as well as by other similar tags. A broad approach to this new listing was recommended by medical experts:

"We applied the principles developed by an expert panel convened by the National Academy of Medicine, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that brings together the top experts in health, medicine, and biomedical science to provide unbiased, evidence-based guidance about health and science. The National Academy of Medicine regularly examines complicated questions related to health, medicine, and biomedical science and over the years they have given guidance on everything from countering the opioid epidemic to gene editing."

While some people may believe that the information and sources included in the list is biased, these labels aim to provide more exposure to important, trusted information and give authority to officials and professionals.

With the new label and recommendation system appearing starting from today, we can hope that a greater number of users will be connected to important, factual information, and will become less likely to fall prey to non-scientific claims.

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