YouTube is revamping the way its search algorithm picks videos to display on the site, after a spate of clips promoting false conspiracy theories about Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting were prominently featured on its site.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, is changing the algorithm that determines the most relevant videos, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider. Although the change to the search algorithm was already in the works, YouTube decided to roll it out sooner in response to criticism of the way it handled results when users searched for “Las Vegas Shooting.”
YouTube also plans to change the “up next” video recommendation feature, the person said. That change is still under development however, and will not be introduced immediately.
A series of news reports and criticism on social media in recent days have highlighted how YouTube promoted false and misleading videos about the deadly Las Vegas shooting.
Police have identified Stephen Craig Paddock as the man who opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. Yet conspiracy theory videos that appeared near the top of YouTube’s search results in recent days claimed there were multiple shooters, that the shooting was a “false flag” attack, and that the shooter was a member of the left-leaning group Antifa.
The source did not specify what changes YouTube is making to its algorithm to differentiate authoritative news videos from conspiracy theory videos. News of the change was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
YouTube is also planning to revamp the related videos its shows users after the first video finishes playing. According to a BuzzFeed report the recommendations were also replete with misleading or false videos that the report said could lead users “down an algorithm-powered conspiracy video rabbit hole.”
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