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YouTube to Add Community Notes Feature to Tackle Misinformation

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jun 19, 2024

YouTube to Add Community Notes Feature to Tackle Misinformation

YouTube is introducing a community notes feature, emulating a concept previously implemented by X (formerly known as Twitter). This new feature is aimed at enhancing video content with viewer-contributed annotations that provide additional context, clarify misinformation, or identify outdated footage.

This initiative is particularly targeted to combat misinformation during the crucial 2024 US election cycle. The community notes are intended to be brief, viewer-created blurbs that offer relevant insights into the video content.

Pilot Program Launch

The rollout of this feature will commence as a pilot program accessible initially to a select group of users. These users, described as “eligible contributors,” will be invited to participate through notifications sent via email or through their Creator Studio dashboard. To qualify, participants must possess an active YouTube account that is in good standing.

During this pilot phase, YouTube plans to utilize “third-party evaluators” to assess the usefulness of the notes provided by contributors. This assessment aims to help fine-tune the system before it is introduced more broadly.

How Does the Note Rating Work?

The effectiveness of the notes will be judged based on viewer feedback, categorized as “helpful,” “somewhat helpful,” or “unhelpful.” This feedback process is crucial as it helps determine which notes will eventually be displayed more prominently under videos.

The determination of which notes are considered helpful will rely on a bridging-based algorithm. This algorithm seeks to identify consensus among diverse groups, particularly noting when individuals who typically disagree on content find common ground on the usefulness of certain notes. This method could potentially prevent the system from being manipulated by specific groups or biases, which is a concern given the polarized nature of online communities today.

Inspiration from X

YouTube’s inspiration for this feature comes from a similar functionality that was first introduced during the tenure of Jack Dorsey at Twitter and was expanded globally following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in 2022. Musk had heralded this feature as pivotal for enhancing the accuracy of content on the platform. Although X’s reputation for accuracy remains mixed, YouTube has seen enough potential in this community-driven approach to adopt it for their platform.

What Can Users Expect Next from Community Notes?

The pilot program for community notes is set to launch on mobile devices in the United States first. During this test phase, YouTube anticipates encountering challenges and making necessary adjustments to the algorithms based on user feedback and the functionality of the notes.

The broader rollout of this feature across the U.S. is expected to follow in the subsequent weeks and months, contingent on the outcomes of this initial phase.

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Featured Image courtesy of Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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