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Fake News on Youtube


Earlier this month, Youtube changed it’s search algorithm in order to prevent conspiracy theory videos from rising to the top as best results for inquiries about major news events. According to the article, videos claiming that the recent Las Vegas shooting was a hoax came as high as the fifth result in response to the inquiry “Las Vegas Shooting.” As youtube becomes an increasingly popular source for news, it is important that the search process favors videos that are accurate. This fact is particularly interesting because Youtube, unlike websites like Google and Facebook that also faced similar issues, cannot use an average links-based search algorithm like the one discussed in class.


One of the reasons for this limitation is the fact that Youtube videos often don’t link to other videos or websites. The content is generally insular, so the search process must be leveraged accordingly. This presents a barrier for the website in trying to limit fake news and automatically locate authoritative sources. The article (and the other articles that describe this news story) doesn’t mention the way it intends to identify trustworthy videos via a search algorithm, so we don’t know exactly how the process works.


One potential idea for a way to identify authoritative sources could be a process that doesn’t necessarily analyze the number of links to the video or the presence of authoritative lists that come up in youtube searches, but rather an analysis of the results of other search engines like Google. If websites with high search ranks on Google link to a particular youtube video, this could be proof that the video is authoritative and accurate.


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