YouTube is joining Twitter and Facebook in the fight against the spread of misinformation. Susan Wojcicki, the company’s CEO, spoke at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival on Tuesday and revealed that conspiracy theory videos — such as recent ones accusing survivors of the Parkland shooting of being crisis actors — will now include links to Wikipedia articles to clear up the content for viewers.
“When there are videos that are focused around something that’s a conspiracy—and we’re using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia—then we will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event,” she said.
— Maureen Fitzgerald (@movandy) March 13, 2018
The update will be implemented in the upcoming months.
Of course, since most Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone, the proposed solution is far from perfect. The online encyclopedia’s executive director, Katherine Maher, responded to the news of YouTube’s plan with a series of tweets emphasizing the importance of people continuing to read the website with a critical eye.
“While we are thrilled to see people recognize the value of Wikipedia’s non-commercial, volunteer model, we know the community’s work is already monetized without the commensurate or in-kind support that is critical to our sustainability,” she wrote.
She added, “We don’t want you to blindly trust us. Sure, we’re mostly accurate – but not always! We want you to read Wikipedia with a critical eye. Check citations! Edit and correct inaccurate information! You can’t do that in a simple search result.”