The Google News Initiative Is Putting $25 Million Toward Fighting Fake News on YouTube

The Top News and Breaking News shelves are being expanded in 17 countries

YouTube began testing features that surface local news in its app for TV screens YouTube
Headshot of David Cohen

YouTube now has 25 million new ways to combat fake news, courtesy of parent company Google.

The video site revealed in a blog post by chief product officer Neal Mohan and chief business officer Robert Kyncl that the Google News Initiative will commit $25 million specifically to YouTube.

Google unveiled the Google News Initiative in March, saying at the time that it would invest $300 million over the next three years to help stamp out fake news.

According to Mohan and Kyncl, some initiatives that will be funded by the $25 million from its parent company are:

  • Establishing a working group with news organizations and experts globallyؙ—early members include Vox Media, Jovem Pan and India Today—to help develop new product features, improve the news experience on YouTube and deal with challenges that may emerge in the future.
  • Providing funding across some 20 global markets to support news organizations in their efforts to build sustainable video operations. Mohan and Kyncl said this funding will be provided on an application basis to news organizations of all types, enabling them to build key capabilities, train staff on best practices, improve their production facilities and develop formats that are optimized for online viewing.
  • Expanding the team at YouTube that supports news publishers, with specialists to be added globally to support partners with training and best practices for audience development, day-to-day platform operations and technical integrations.

Interested news organizations can apply here.

Mohan and Kyncl also outlined steps YouTube is taking to ensure the availability of news from authoritative sources:

  • They wrote, “After a breaking news event, it takes time to verify, produce and publish high-quality videos. Journalists often write articles first to break the news rather than produce videos. That’s why in the coming weeks in the U.S., we will start providing a short preview of news articles in search results on YouTube that link to the full article during the initial hours of a major news event, along with a reminder that breaking and developing news can rapidly change.”

  • YouTube also expanded its Top News and Breaking News shelves in 17 countries—including the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Japan, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria—with plans to double that total “in the coming months.”

  • And in the U.S., YouTube began testing features that surface local news in its application for TV screens across 25 media markets, with Mohan and Kyncl adding, “We will be expanding it to dozens more markets like Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Kansas City.”

Finally, Mohan and Kyncl detailed ways in which YouTube is helping people make their own judgments about news videos they come across on its platform.

  • Users will begin seeing information from third parties such as Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica alongside videos on “a small number of well-established historical and scientific topics that have often been subject to misinformation,” such as the moon landing and the bombing in Oklahoma City.

  • YouTube, the Google News Initiative and are also teaming up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, the Local Media Association and the National Association for Media Literacy Education on MediaWise, a U.S.-based initiative designed to equip 1 million teens with digital literacy skills. Six YouTube Creators—including John Green, Ingrid Nilsen and Mark Watson—will also work with MediaWise.

Mohan and Kyncl wrote, “We remain committed to working with the journalism community to build a more sustainable video ecosystem for news organizations. We know there is a lot of work to do, but we’re eager to provide a better experience to users who come to YouTube every day to learn more about what is happening in the world from a diversity of sources.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.