YouTube has launched a new section on its homepage dedicated to news, stories, and related information about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that continues to ravage the world.
The announcement was made on Twitter via the popular video-sharing platform’s YouTubeInsider account. According to the Twitter post, the new COVID-19 news shelf on YouTube’s homepage will be made available in 16 countries across the globe.
On top of that, the Google-owned company has also stated that it intends to roll out this dedicated homepage section in other countries as well in the next few days or weeks. Here’s the tweet:
We want everyone to have access to authoritative content during this trying time, so we’re launching a COVID-19 news shelf on our homepage in 16 countries. We’ll expand to more countries, as well. pic.twitter.com/nivKDZ2mHo
— YouTubeInsider (@YouTubeInsider) March 19, 2020
Fighting the global pandemic through information
YouTube is setting its sights on using its massive audience reach to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. And it’s doing this by leveraging its global popularity to raise proper awareness about COVID-19, specifically by allowing relevant and useful content to be most visible and accessible on its platform.
It goes without saying that the focus of the COVID-19 news shelf on the homepage will be in trying to feature content coming from reliable and authoritative sources. In the US, for instance, most of the promoted video content will be from prominent national publications operating in America, according to a report by TechCrunch.
Eliminating misinformation and fake news
YouTube is far from the only tech giant making a conscious effort to help fight the worldwide pandemic by promoting better awareness and preventing the spread of misinformation regarding the coronavirus.
At the end of February, Facebook announced that it was banning ads on its platform that claim to offer bogus cures or treatments for COVID-19 or that create a “sense of urgency” about the virus.
“We recently implemented a policy to prohibit ads that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention. We also have policies for surfaces like Marketplace that prohibit similar behavior,” a spokesperson for the social media giant said.
Like Facebook, YouTube has had to contend with an increasing number of suspicious and misleading videos being published on its platform on a daily basis. These range from conspiracy theories to crude hypothesizing of the cause, extent, and even impact of the global outbreak.
It is sometimes unfortunate that users around the world who frequent YouTube for news and information are often left to their own devices trying to figure out which particular content is legitimate or not.
But with the rollout of the new dedicated homepage section on COVID-19, YouTube now is in a position to promote the content it deems is most helpful or accurate right on its homepage, without preventing other content creators from continuing to use the platform to publish their own content.