June 25, 2020
Coronavirus is putting YouTube's curation skills to the test as users turn to the video-sharing platform to find useful, accurate information on the global pandemic.
"One of the things that we've noticed since this pandemic became a global crisis back in late-January, February was that lots of users across the world were coming to YouTube looking for information," Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan told Cheddar.
For a little while, at least, some users skipped over the latest viral video in favor of seeking out hard news on the platform. Consumption of news-related content went up 75 percent year-over-year in the first three months of 2020, according to Mohan.
"Our goal is to make sure that when users are looking for that information on YouTube, we're providing credible, accurate information, and we do that by raising up authoritative channels, channels that have established a history of providing credible and relevant information around that topic," he said.
In addition, YouTube provided extra context on coronavirus-related content by running an informational panel below videos that linked out to official information sources.
"We work with 85 health authorities in countries across the world to make sure users can easily click out from YouTube to get the latest and greatest medical information," Mohan said.
This approach is informing how YouTube approaches other pressing social issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement that is now vying for public attention with COVID-19.
In addition to elevating authoritative channels, YouTube launched a $100 million fund to promote Black voices and voices that support social justice on the platform.
"That's something that we will be working on not just in the next weeks and months but for years ahead," he said.