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YouTube is letting some viewers add context notes to videos - here's why and how it works

Expanding the fight against misinformation, YouTube's crowdsourced fact-checking test is currently invitation-only - but not for long.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
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YouTube is taking steps to combat misinformation with crowdsourced fact-checking. YouTube announced that viewers will soon be able to add notes to a video to explain context or add further information, similar to how X's system works.

The process for publishing notes will involve some back-and-forth between parties. Third-party evaluators (the same ones who give feedback on YouTube's search results and recommendations) will rate the helpfulness of submitted notes; if a note is deemed helpful enough, it will appear below a video.

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A viewer will then be able to rate the note as "helpful," "somewhat helpful," or "unhelpful" and explain their choice. An algorithm will determine if notes remain published, YouTube explained. If many viewers "across a broad set of perspectives" say a note is helpful, it will remain.

YouTube explained that it will invite a limited number of users to write notes as part of a test phase. Note creation will be given to selected accounts that were created at least six months ago, haven't had a community guidelines strike in the past year, aren't a supervised account, and don't have multiple owners, such as a brand or a school account.

Notes will not be available on videos that may feature minors, Made for Kids content, or private videos. They can be deleted at any time by the creator, even after they've been published.

At least for now, notes are only available on mobile and only for English videos. The company has already acknowledged that there will be mistakes -- such as videos not being a great match for notes or incorrect notes appearing. YouTube said it plans on learning from these tests and user feedback.

Also: China plans to disrupt US elections using AI-generated content, Microsoft claims

It's probably not a coincidence that YouTube is taking this step only five months before a hotly contested US presidential election. Microsoft's Threat Intelligence Team has already warned of likely interference from China using AI, and 80% of people think deepfakes will have an impact on the election.

US viewers should start to see notes appearing in the coming weeks and months.

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