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YouTube Will Add Information From Wikipedia To Videos About Conspiracies (theverge.com) 226

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about popular conspiracy theories to provide alternative viewpoints on controversial subjects, its CEO said today. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that these text boxes, which the company is calling "information cues," would begin appearing on conspiracy-related videos within the next couple of weeks. Wojcicki, who spoke Tuesday evening at a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, showed examples of information cues for videos about the moon landing and chemtrails. "When there are videos that are focused around something that's a conspiracy -- and we're using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia -- then we will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event," Wojcicki said. The information cues that Wojcicki demonstrated appeared directly below the video as a short block of text, with a link to Wikipedia for more information. Wikipedia -- a crowdsourced encyclopedia written by volunteers -- is an imperfect source of information, one which most college students are still forbidden from citing in their papers. But it generally provides a more neutral, empirical approach to understanding conspiracies than the more sensationalist videos that appear on YouTube.
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YouTube Will Add Information From Wikipedia To Videos About Conspiracies

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  • by quonset ( 4839537 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @08:59PM (#56256027)

    There is something called the Backfire Effect [rationalwiki.org]. In short, the more factual information you give to someone pointing how/where they're wrong, the more strident in their viewpoint they become.

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      I'm in the firm belief that it's very difficult to change anyone's mind immediately, on a subject they care about. People will be biased to be skeptical of your claims that are counter to their held beliefs. This makes some sense, as someone could easily be quickly manipulated if this wasn't the case. It is the mental equivalent of 'circling the wagons' and is a similar defense mechanism. I imagine (but haven't done any research on this) that the experiments done that found a Backfire Effect were all done s

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        If you start bullshitting people all of the time, they will start bullshitting back. Want to annoy the crap out of government and corporate propagandists, tell them you believe the crap that is undermining them, even when you don't, in fact especially when you don't. Think about it, they go through all the trouble and expense of generating propaganda to target conspiracy theories and think they are failing because the response from the public, we believe the conspiracy theory fuck off (when they actually do

    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @09:25PM (#56256167) Journal

      Actually, I think something else entirely will happen [wikipedia.org].

      Got popcorn?

    • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @09:26PM (#56256177)

      It won't change any minds, but it might prevent people from falling for it to begin with.

      I remember when I first discovered moon landing conspiracy sites. I was fascinated and went down that rabbit hole until I stumbled onto a debunking site.

      Since I was just looking into it for the first time, I had no commitment to it, and I was able to see that the debunkers has much simpler, more plausible arguments.

      But if I had found the debunkers after telling people about it for a year, I might not have had the strength to admit I was wrong. So thanks, Internet debunkers. You do good work.

    • by KeensMustard ( 655606 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @12:24AM (#56256813)
      This assumes that the people who watch these videos are predominantly already in agreement with them.

      The other day I fell into the trap of watching a few flat earther videos on youtube. I asked myself "who would watch this tripe?". After thinking about it the truth came to me : I was watching. Flat Earther videos aren't for Flat Earthers, but to stir the waters of people like me who find the notion teeth grindingly irritating. We watch the videos to arm ourselves for a debunking. And they get ad revenue. They win. Probably 80% of people watching those videos do so because their scepticism drives them to, or because they just like seeing a trainwreck of logic.

      In fact at some point I saw an ad at the start of a flat earther conspiracy theory that was unequivocally aimed at anti-flat earthers.

      • I take it a step further and question if there even are any flat-earthers.

        Most of them seem like smug assholes who figured out that the average person thinks they understand science, but are just ignorant superstitious morons mimicking the sciency-sounding crap their high school teachers fed them. So the "flat-earthers" can have 1000 consecutive conversations with people who stand there claiming to think it is illogical nonsense, but can't actually explain why. Flat-earthers know their arguments can be debu

        • I think the same thing about those who argue in favor of quite a few policies, like tax cuts paying for themselves, as an example. Completely disingenuous.
          • What is a laffer curve? [wikipedia.org]

            • And indeed, if you look at the Congressional Budget Office analysis section of that link, you would realize that the Laffer curve is basically discredited. Granted it would be nice if the article pointed that out a bit more, but it's still factually correct.
              • ...based on a 10% reduction of 2005 US tax rates. That does not discredit the concept of Laffer curves in general.

                • There seems to be general consensus that at 100% tax rate, economic activity would come to a halt. But there is also consensus that, if there is a Laffer curve, we are definitely left of the maximum in the US right now so any reduction in tax rates is also a reduction in revenue.
                  • I could believe that about personal tax rates but not corporate (before the recent cuts). When you have billion dollar businesses fleeing to tax havens we're in the "economic activity (in this country) comes to a halt" phase.

                    • What you are describing is quite interesting, but it's not related to the Laffer curve. The Laffer curve does not account for the ability to move to lower-tax jurisdictions. Rather it talks about tax avoidance mechanisms within the jurisdiction (mostly using barter and creative accounting). I'm a conservative at heart. I'd like to see a lower corporate tax rate offset with higher and more progressive personal tax rates for exactly the reason that you described. Sadly that seems impossible in the curren
                    • Isn't moving to a lower-tax jurisdiction just an extension of "tax avoidance mechanisms?"

                    • Yes. Just not one that Laffer considered/discussed. And we're seeing it happen. But it's a much different problem than the Laffer curve addresses. Basically we now have *competitive* tax jurisdictions which is different than the Laffer description of a monopoly tax jurisdiction. This tax competition should push worldwide corporate rates down as corporations can relocate fairly easily. It's harder to avoid personal tax rates as the nicer places to live have to pay for the infrastructure, public safety,
    • This may backfire, but the studies on the backfire effect have been called into question.

    • by Jahta ( 1141213 )

      There is something called the Backfire Effect [rationalwiki.org]. In short, the more factual information you give to someone pointing how/where they're wrong, the more strident in their viewpoint they become.

      There is a more fundamental issue here; one that is well described in the book The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart [amazon.com].

      As the Amazon summary says "Over the past three decades, we [Americans] have been choosing the neighborhood (and church and news show) compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. The result is a country that has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred that people don't know and can't understand those who live a few miles away."

      Living and working in co

    • There is something called the Backfire Effect [rationalwiki.org]. In short, the more factual information you give to someone pointing how/where they're wrong, the more strident in their viewpoint they become.

      This effect holds for those with conventional viewpoints as well. Most people, when presented with facts that indicate a conspiracy is actually afoot, will choose to ignore that evidence and continue thinking that there is no conspiracy. It indicates to me that, regardless of our viewpoint, we should all be more open minded and less sure that we know what we know.

    • Wikipedia and Youtube are conspiring! They've been influence by foreign actors, especially Russian ones, and they go right to the top: Jimmy Wales is a self-proclaimed Objectivist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org], a Russian created ideological dogma! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] We need a public investigation and a media circus led by narcissists immediately!
  • ... will "AI," common sense?

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @09:11PM (#56256101)

    I'm all in favor of this, so long as it's expanded to creationism, fundamentalism, or any other extremist video predicated on a faulty premise. Heck, take it further and add opposing viewpoints to ANY video presenting only one side to a contentious issue, like abortion or gun control/rights.

    • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @10:45PM (#56256479)
      You know what...no. Every single thing you hold dear is a contentious issue if the audience is wide enough.

      Freedom of religion is a contentious issue. In America we have it. In Iran they don't.

      Free and fair elections are a contentious issue. In much of the west we have them, in much of the rest of the world they don't and they make a point of touting it as a superior alternative to ours...and some people here quietly agree.

      Same thing for blind justice, property rights, the right to operate an automobile, plastic bags in grocery stores. All of is a contentious issue.

      So unless you plan fact-check every video for any expression of an opinion or advocacy of a contentious issue, you shouldn't do it at all.

      If a Christian theologian were to put a video of his sermon, would you want little atheist factboxes popping up around it? Maybe you would, but you can't expect him to stay on the platform if it's going to go at his content with a thousand little pinpricks.

      If an atheist like Richard Dawkins puts up a lecture of his, is it sensible for little factboxes of REPENT SINNERS to pop up there?

      Be serious dude. You're either responsible for policing all of the content on your platform or you're responsible for none of it. There's very little ground in the middle.
      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        I'm fine with this. It's not like there are absolutely no legitimate arguments against representative democracy. If a video makes an argument, counter-arguments can be automatically linked to on the Youtube page. Stated facts can have sources automatically added; same for contradictory facts.
        I didn't say this would be done by humans, it'd obviously have to be automated. Look at Facebook's moves to combat 'fake news' and things are moving in this direction already.

        What this move is really doing, is intention

      • by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @12:07AM (#56256753)

        I'd love to see the reaction to the little factbox stating "there are only two genders". This whole experiment would get pulled pretty quick if it was equally applied.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          According to TFA it would pull the following from Wikipeida:

          Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e., the state of being male, female, or an intersex variation), sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gender identity.[1][2][3] People who do not identify as men or women or with masculine or feminine gender pronouns are often grouped under the umbrella terms non-binary or genderqueer. Some cultures have specific gender roles that are distinct from "man" and "woman," such as the hijras of South Asia. These are often referred to as third genders.

          Perhaps you can think of a better example.

          • This is a garbage definition. It presupposes the existence of sex-based social structures as distinct from "gender identity." This is a nonexistent distinction. One's "identity" does not exist in a vacuum. You aren't Jewish if you say you are, you're Jewish if you say you are and observe religious practices that most Jews would recognize as Judaism. You aren't a woman if you say you're a woman, you actually have to be a woman as recognized by other women. If there's contention among a sizeable number of the
            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              So being Jewish depends on you acting like a Jew, doing Jew stuff like participating in the religion etc. But being a woman isn't dependent on your acting like a woman, doing woman stuff like wearing women's clothing etc.

              Also, lots of non-religious people identify as Jewish because it's both a religion and a race. But you don't have to have Jewish race to be Jewish.

              IOW trying to narrowly, strictly define these labels is futile and not at all related to how people actually use them.

              • No...to be a woman you have to be accepted by society at large as a woman. Just like to be a Jew you have to be accepted by society at large as a Jew. If a large number of Jews say you aren't Jewish because you have neither the bloodline nor the observance...you aren't a Jew. If a large number of men or women refuse to accept that you're a woman because you were born a man and lived your life as a man and are biologically a man...then you aren't a woman. Your say-so alone is not sufficient.

                Perhaps a better
      • by pots ( 5047349 )

        So unless you plan fact-check every video for any expression of an opinion or advocacy of a contentious issue, you shouldn't do it at all.

        "If you can't do everything perfectly, never try to do anything." You have failed to sell this.

        Not that you're wrong for criticizing the parent, he turned an effort to correct falsehoods into a question of contentiousness. That shouldn't have come up in the first place. The question is not, "Are the ideas in this video contentious?" the question is, "Do the ideas in this video agree with what's in Wikipedia?"

        • Both questions are equally irrelevant. Wikipedia is no more authoritative than anything else. It's pretty good for nonpartisan stuff like science and geography (although you could see how the latter could have issues), but for political hot-button stuff that's a matter of opinion it has gatekeepers and they exercise their own editorial judgement. I'll give you an example:

          Wikipedia will tell you unambiguously that having a gun in the house increases the chance that someone who lives there will suffer a guns
          • by pots ( 5047349 )

            Wikipedia is no more authoritative than anything else.

            Wikipedia is way more authoritative than me, or you. Since we are the ones reading it in this scenario, that's a pretty good starting point.

            For your example: it's true that Wikipedia won't tell you how to interpret the facts that it gives, but presumably that's what the video that you're watching is doing. That's what conspiracy theories do. Since the point of these links is to combat false information in youtube videos, telling you whether that information is true seems sufficient.

            Yes it's true that

    • Creationism isn't problematic. It's only when creationists want their mythology taught in schools that it becomes a problem. Other types of extremism are directly dangerous. Creationists don't shoot up a room full of people or violently attack minorities just because they are minorities. It seems that a line should be drawn for extremist viewpoints that have a history of leading to senseless violence.
    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      Umm, you do know this is about information that is factually incorrect, like man never landing on the moon, or 2.3 trillion USD missing from the Pentagon before 9/11.

      Not just stuff that conflicts with your particular world view.

  • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @12:05AM (#56256743)

    The greatest conspiracy theory of our time (and the dumbest of all time) is Russiagate. Mueller - one of the people who lied you into Iraq [youtube.com] has had more than a year but has gotten nothing more than twitter trolls and indictments that have nothing to do with Trump or Russia.

    Pointing this out always results in butthurt from people who have been eager to get punked a second time by the people who lied to world about Saddam planning 911 and having WMD's. Feel free to put up or STFU with some evidence, guys. Protip: assertions are not evidence.

    • How would this be a conspiracy? He is investigating facts. We know that Russia sought to influence our elections and we can be quite sure that Russia doesn't respect US campaign laws. The investigation itself shows that we are committed to our elections. Many companies (i.e Facebook, Twitter) have publicly disclosed Russion interference activities. So there's clearly something to investigate.
      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        How would this be a conspiracy? He is investigating facts. We know that Russia sought to influence our elections and we can be quite sure that Russia doesn't respect US campaign laws.

        Your not-facts are the conspiracy theory. Again: none of Mueller's indictments have anything to do with Russian hacking or colluding with Trump to do so. This is nothing more than an excuse from partisan Democrats to explain their loss to the 2nd worst candidate in history, and so they don't have to change their corrupt cor

        • That's an interesting assertion, but it conflicts with what the President has said. “Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!” If the focus of the investigation is limited strictly to the Trump campaign, you would have a point. But it's much broader in scope. It's also not clear what our intelligence agencies knew or should ha
      • Sure, FaceBook disclosed that, mostly in 2015, some people in Russia ran clickbait ads for and against Black Lives Matter. Therefore, Donald Trump is a traitor and Hillary becomes President now.

        • I have no idea how you got from the first statement to the latter and I think it's an attempt at some snarky sarcasm but maybe too cunning to be understood.
    • Feel free to put up or STFU with some evidence, guys. Protip: assertions are not evidence.

      Oh, the delicious irony.

      How awesome is it that you can demand others play by rules that you yourself won't follow? That's gotta feel good, right?

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        Oh, the delicious irony.

        Insert Diego Montoya clip here. [youtube.com]

        How awesome is it that you can demand others play by rules that you yourself won't follow?

        Except that's exactly how it works, dotard, as you can't prove a negative. It's the job of a person claiming a thing is a thing to prove that its a thing. If you say you believe in Santa Claus as a grown assed man (far less embarrassing than believing in Russiagate btw), is it somehow my responsibility to prove that a man with magical powers doesn't exist in an

    • One area where we are in agreement is that Rachael Maddow clips *should* be tagged.
  • Hmm. I bet these article links get about as much attention as the fine print on lawyer commercials. Good luck with that.

  • by Air-conditioned cowh ( 552882 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @02:17AM (#56257169)
    A few years ago Wikipedia saved me from believing all these monstrous conspiracy theories about Jimmy Saville being some prolific peodo or something.

    I'm sure it will do an excellent job in protecting the fragile masses from any other conspiracy theory today.
  • I have an idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2018 @04:19AM (#56257457)
    I want to see a huuuuge disclaimer on these looney SJWs' videos stating there are only 2 genders and thinking otherwise is a mental illness.
  • Or is it only those conspiracies that the viewpoints at YouTube disagree with.

    For instance, will it provide the same information for videos about climate change, since some claim those are conspiracies?? One could argue that the views for climate change are pushing an extreme viewpoint.

    Or how about a conspiracy that YouTube is biased?? Will that show up??

    Should be interesting to see what YouTube considers conspiracies that people need to be informed about and those that they should just accept.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington

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