As social media platforms have begun to sift through and flag content that meets certain criteria, YouTube published an announcement this past Friday, that it will begin flagging content that is published by users that are funded by the government. YouTubers will notice a label on videos from users that are publicly bankrolled appearing before the video title.
YouTube’s news senior product manager Geoff Samek says that YouTube wants to help “grow news and support news publishers on YouTube in a responsible way”. As one of the initial steps that YouTube is taking to foster legitimate news content on their platform, they intend to introduce numerous other steps as the year move forward.
Social media organizations came under heavy fire following the 2016 election cycle over supposed Russian propaganda was circulated through their platforms in order to influence the outcomes of those elections. Legislators haven’t been too elated with social media organizations as they took steps to conceal the extent to which their services were used towards that end.
Publicly funded outlets, however, view the motion with disdain, as PBS spokesman related to the Washington Post “PBS and its member stations receive a small percentage of funding from the federal government; the majority of funding comes from private donations. More importantly, PBS is an independent, private, not-for-profit corporation, not a state broadcaster.
YouTube’s proposed labeling could wrongly imply that the government has influence over PBS content, which is prohibited by statute. If YouTube’s intent is to create clarity and better understanding, this is a step in the wrong direction.”