In an effort to combat misinformation, YouTube is implementing immersive news hubs that will pull together content from “authoritative sources” into one convenient location.
The platform states in its announcement that the content collected in these watch pages covers a variety of formats including “video on demand, live streams, podcasts, and Shorts.” The goal here is to give viewers or listeners the opportunity to learn about a particular event from multiple angles. You can watch a Short to “quickly catch up” before moving on to a “long-form video” to get more details.
YouTube says content from authoritative sources will have a purple newspaper icon next to them “on the homepage or in search results.” Selecting those videos opens the watch page so you can scroll through what else is out there while the initial clip plays at the top.
The preview you see above was found on the official post and is apparently a “mock display” of what a watch page may look like. A YouTube representative told us each hub will be unique to the news story at the center.
When asked what constitutes an authoritative source, the same representative pointed us to a Google policy web page revealing how the tech giant identifies the right sources. To give a quick breakdown, YouTube uses “various signals” indicating channel quality and coverage of certain events. Plus, they use a combination of “machine learning techniques [and] third-party human evaluators” to improve these “signals”.
The feature is currently rolling to YouTube on mobile “in approximately 40 countries” including, but not limited to, the US, Canada, the UK, France, Australia, India, and Japan. Later down the line, the update will become available on desktop and the YouTube smart TV app.
It is interesting to see YouTube (and to a greater extent, Google) embrace news curation at a time when other platforms are shying away from it. X, formerly known as Twitter, recently decided to stop showing headlines in posts. Meta is going down a similar route. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, stated Threads won’t do anything to actively promote “politics [or] hard news” to users.
Potentially bad news
As great as the hub may be, there may be some bad news on the horizon. YouTube made another announcement revealing creators on the website will be able to timestamps for specific products they tag in a video. Every timestamp will cause a shopping button to appear on-screen giving watchers the opportunity to purchase said item.
Most of you reading may not care about this, but you should because it could greatly ramp up the number of ads you see on the platform. Imagine getting a mini-commercial every 30 seconds or so.
Speaking of commercials, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best ad blockers for 2023.