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YouTube to invest $25m to boost ‘trusted’ news sources

Move part of $300-million Google News Initiative to help curb manipulation, misinformation

By AFP - Jul 11,2018 - Last updated at Jul 11,2018

In this file photo, taken on April 3, a YouTube sign is seen at its corporate headquarters in San Bruno, California (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON — YouTube unveiled plans to invest $25 million in news organisations as part of an effort to boosted trusted journalism and combat misinformation.

The Google-owned online video service said it would offer funding "across approximately 20 global markets to support news organisations in building sustainable video operations".

The grants "will enable our partners to build key capabilities, train staff on video best practices, enhance production facilities and develop formats optimised for online video," YouTube said in a statement late Monday.

The latest move is part of a $300 million Google News Initiative announced earlier this year by YouTube's parent to help curb manipulation and misinformation, which can spread easily online.

The YouTube effort comes as Google and Facebook — companies that drew heavy criticism following the 2016 US election for failing to prevent the propagation of false news — have been taking a series of steps to promote verifiable journalism.

"The work of trusted journalistic organisations is as critical as ever, especially when it comes to seeking information about current events online," YouTube said.

In addition to helping news organizations with video, YouTube said it was stepping up efforts to help its users identify "authoritative" news sources.

"Authoritativeness is essential to viewers, especially during fast-moving, breaking news events, so we've been investing in new product features to prominently surface authoritative sources," the statement said.

This will include short previews of news articles in YouTube search results on key breaking stories.

"After a breaking news event, it takes time to verify, produce and publish high-quality videos," according to the YouTube statement.

"Journalists often write articles first to break the news rather than produce videos. That's why in the coming weeks in the US 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."

Additionally, YouTube said it was creating a working group with news organizations and advisers from around the globe to "improve the news experience on YouTube and tackle emerging challenges."

The first partners in the programme will be US-based Vox Media, Jovem Pan of Brazil and India Today.

"We've looking forward to having more join as we convene the group in the coming weeks," the online giant said.

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